Fat Cow isn’t the type of restaurant that the average person would patronise too frequently – nor should anyone, for that matter.
There are a couple of simple reasons for this proposition. For starters, its prices will make your eyes water, so a rapidly depleting bank account should offer sufficient deterrence. Even if the prices don’t put you off, the food is so rich that your heart is unlikely to survive regular meals at this restaurant. You’d probably be alright if you’re a vegetarian, but that’s like stepping into Morton’s and not ordering a steak.
Suffice to say, visits to Fat Cow are typically reserved for special occasions. Grace’s birthday this year seemed like a good time, so we had dinner there during our staycation at Hotel Jen Tanglin. The two are less than five minutes’ walk from each other, making it ridiculously convenient.
Having been impressed by Manhattan’s solera-aged negroni, I was tempted to try Fat Cow’s own version of the cocktail. This was made with a juniper-infused Akashi-Tai Tokiwa Shochu, stirred in with Bitter Campari and Antica Formula. While I felt it couldn’t match Manhattan’s in terms of maturity and the blending of flavours, it was decent on its own. The rich amber hues were also stunning to behold.
Other than the birthday girl, the star of the evening was undoubtedly this 150g of grade A5 Tochigi ribeye. Prepared sumibiyaki style, the steak is grilled over binchotan charcoal and served with sudachi and sea salt. Deep-fried garlic flakes and a sauce selected by the chef round up the accompaniments.
Fed on a low energy diet of grass, rice, straw and barley, the meat was tender and contained a subtle but distinct fatty flavour. With such high-quality ingredients, Fat Cow’s chefs have understandably specific recommendations for the extent that each cut of meat should be cooked – mine was recommended medium. It seemed like a wise choice to go with that, as every morsel of the marbled meat had its fat rendered perfectly by the heat of the binchotan, and practically dissolved into a sinfully buttery texture with each bite.
Relative to the Tochigi ribeye, the chargrilled jumbo asparagus seemed like a bargain. The vegetables went well with the yuzu aioli and katsuobushi, helping us feel less guilty about the cholesterol-filled main course.
As we were dining at a Japanese restaurant, ordering a bowl of rice seemed like a sensible thing to do. We split a bowl of the signature ‘Fat Rice’ between us; pictured in the foreground above is half the quantity one would get for the order. Consisting of steamed Japanese rice seasoned with the restaurant’s signature ‘fat shoyu’, you’ll remember the umami flavour for days.
Knowing it was Grace’s birthday, the staff at Fat Cow prepared a token celebratory dessert, even though we were frankly too full for a sweet treat. It was a nice gesture that provided a fitting end to an amazing meal.
This wasn’t just food – it was a gastronomic treat. The rich flavours of the Tochigi grade A5 ribeye were nothing like I had experienced before in a steak. If you enjoy a good cut of beef, save up for this if you have to; you can thank yourself for it later.