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Islander Eats: Is This $900 Giant Wagyu Burger Worth The Price?

Dining & Drinking I drink, I eat, I write.

On April 1st, the headlines of lifestyle publications across Japan were all focusing
on one big story – The launch of the huge US$900 wagyu burger, ‘Golden Giant’,
created by the Grand Hyatt Tokyo’s Oak Door chef, Patrick Shimada, to
commemorate the new Imperial Era. In order to cater to both large and small
groups, on April 5th, a smaller version of the enormous burger launched for
individuals looking to try it. The ‘Golden Giant’ burger was created to celebrate
the new Imperial Era in Japan which starts in May and will be available until
June. The question on everyone’s lips, however, is one – Is the burger worth the
price? After travelling to the Oak Door and trying it myself, the answer is obvious.

The huge ‘Golden Giant’ held by chef Patrich Shimada. PHOTO: GRAND HYATT

Stating the high price in the title of any article will amass clicks and traffic, but is
the huge burger worth the US$900 price tag? The burger does weigh over 3kg
(6.6lbs), the chef even recommends it be enjoyed by 8 people. Aside from the
burger, triple-cooked fries and a magnum-sized bottle of Champagne, red, or
white wine are all included in the price. See? It’s starting to sound much better.
Especially when one looks at the ingredients, story, and concept behind the
creation.
Speaking to chef Shimada at the Oak Door in Tokyo, he touches on his
Japanese heritage as the main reason behind his creation. ‘I’m fourth-generation
Japanese and being present for the change of the Imperial Era is such an
honour. So, I wanted to create something extra special to commemorate the
occasion, and bring in some of the best ingredients Japan has to offer.’

Shimada is coming up to his second year at the Grand Hyatt Tokyo after
previously working in the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong. His primary focus is beef
and meat in general, one of the main reasons the Oak Door’s classic burger is so
popular. For the ‘Golden Giant’ burger, the experience starts with the bun, which
has been sprinkled with gold dust. Under the midday sun, it’s definitely the
shiniest burger you’ve ever seen! The thick, juicy 1kg beef patty is delicious but
the toppings take it to the next level. Over the classic additions of lettuce, tomato,
and cheddar cheese chef Shimada adds chunky slices of rare wagyu beef,
freshly shaved black truffle, and a big piece of rich foie gras.

The newly launched ‘Golden R Burger’, perfect for individuals. PHOTO: GRAND HYATT

Biting into the newly released ‘Golden R Burger’ (The R stands for the new era
Reiwa) priced at around $US180 one can quickly see that it’s not just a gimmick.
Each ingredient has been carefully chosen to complement the rest and while both
the huge and regular style burgers are great for Instagram-worthy pictures and
social media, the flavour and quality are very much present.

The weight of the wagyu slices and meaty patty are lifted by the fresh, juicy
tomatoes, truffles, and lettuce, while the foie gras adds a creamy, smooth
element to the mix. Chef Shimada mentions that balance is key, as is the story
behind each ingredient. For this reason, he makes sure to add the stories behind
his dishes to the menu. Olive beef, for example, known as Sanuki beef in Japan,
hails from Kagawa and comes from cows raised on pressed olive remains. This
was the result of a farmer who wanted to stop wasting the remains from the
olives after he’d extracted what he needed for olive oil. Shimada wants to the
world to see these stories.

Now for the verdict – Is this new burger worth it? The answer is a resounding yes.
The large burger in particular, which as mentioned also includes alcohol, is a
steal for 8 people who will be paying around US$112.5 per person. The smaller
version is a little pricier but for the quality and experience, it’s well worth the price.
Should you find yourself in Tokyo over the next few months make sure to drop by
for a burger but beware: the ‘Golden Giant’ burger needs to be pre-ordered as it
takes quite a while to prepare.

The new burgers will be taken off the menu in June, so there’s plenty of time to
try them!

George Koutsakis (AKA Whisky Islander) is a food & drinks writer and whisky
expert, with a focus on Asia. Follow his latest adventures on Instagram: Life &
Food

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