Kobe Beef at Royal Mouriya Restaurant in Kobe

I still salivate when I think about this.

For my final meal in Japan before flying back to humdrum and drudgery (SIGH), I decided to pull out the big guns and my final ¥10,000 for THIS.

It's a super huge deal to me to fork out RM315.00 for a meal (because I earn a third of that on a working day - you can calculate how much I earn per month), so I had to make the most of it by taking a lot of pictures.

I think the chefs in the Mouriya chain are super used to us tourists coming in for Kobe beef. I asked the chef if I could take his picture and he said "Sure, go ahead".

Oh word of advice for people who want to try Kobe beef at the Royal Mouriya - there is a 10% extra charge on top of your meal after 3PM, so try to go in before 3PM. I went in at 3.15PM and got slapped with the extra charge.


On the bright side I think they took pity on us and did not charge us for the extras we asked for like Oolong tea, coca-cola, and extra rice.

m(T_T)m thank you Royal Mouriya.

There are actually THREE Mouriya restaurants on the same stretch of road. The Mouriya Honten Restaurant is on the corner of the road. Two of the Mouriya restaurants are in the same building along the road, with the Mouriya Sannomiya Restaurant on the third floor and the Royal Mouriya Restaurant on the second floor.

They are all super near the Hankyu Sannomiya station, but as always get a GPS and you'll be able to walk to the restaurants, no problem.

I didn't know which Mouriya to go to at first, but I somehow ended up at the Royal Mouriya Restaurant on the 2nd floor. Okay, so maybe the name had a minor exerting influence... *shifty eyes*

As expected of a place that serves Kobe beef, the interior was fancy-schmancy. There were several gleaming grilling stations in front of a rectangular long table, flowers like the above on the rectangular table, and places were set with napkins and wine glasses.

There are three private rooms, but since it was only the two of us, we got shown to the seats in front of the grilling station. I was secretly excited about the fact that we would be able to see the chef make our food and flip it onto our plates.

As it was slightly after three (extra charge (T_T)), there were only four other people in the place, with two of them almost finishing.

Let me be the first to admit that I am unsophisticated in the arts of fine dining.

My normal meal a day consists of soup noodles for breakfast, nothing for lunch unless there is free food from an event, and home-cooked meals / something cheap-ish from outside that costs less than RM10. There are maybe six to eight times a month I'd splurge on myself and buy a meal that costs somewhere between RM20 to RM40 for dinner.

My tentative budget alone for bought meals per month is RM300 in Malaysia. 

I am such a cheapskate. Also I've spent only RM150 on food so far this month and it's already the 18th! I'm so proud of myself.

Right. Back to the Kobe beef and the fancy dining.

The first rule of fancy dining seems to be that the staff will be respectfully attentive and withdraw when they sense they are not needed.

At first, the waitress offers to take my coat away, and even gives me a basket to put under my seat for my belongings. She brings out the menus and explains the menu to us, telling us that apart from ala carte, they also serve meals in sets.

You can also see the menu on this webpage. We got the dinner menu because lunch hours were over. Apart from the Kobe beef, she said, they also sell Tajima beef.

A little lesson: Kobe beef is essentially from Tajima cattle too, but at a higher grade of A4 - A5. A5 is the best grade Kobe beef can attain. (I think I had the A4 grade beef, but I'm a food philistine anyway, as I mentioned. I still loved the A4 grade beef and I can't imagine how A5 grade beef can top it more.)

The waitress then leaves us alone to make our selection, and seeing that I only had ¥10,000+ left, I chose the Kobe Beef Set A at ¥9,600+¥960 for the 10% charge, asking for the rib steak. K chose the sirloin steak at Set A too.

After she's taken our order, she pours water into our wine glasses, and then disappears again, only to silently appear with our oolong tea and Coca-cola.

The Royal Mouriya Restaurant exudes a sense of class and quietness - indeed children below six years of age are not allowed into the Royal Mouriya Restaurant. The website suggests kindly that those with children adjourn to the other Mouriya restaurants instead.

Sorry, parents.

The first course was the amuse-bouche. It consisted of raw ham, a raw slice of salami, an olive, and a biscuit stick.

I usually detest raw food, but the amuse-bouche certainly led to an array of interesting (good interesting, not bad interesting) tastes on the mouth that prepared me for the next two courses.

I usually hate olives too, but this one was pretty yum.


Then there was the second course of hors d'oeuvre.

More raw food, fish this time. I was expecting to hate it, but I actually liked it. Again, not that I would want huge globs of it, but the fish was chewy and tender. Even the onion tastes better than other onion I've eaten WHAT DO YOU PUT IN THE WATER JAPAN.

The first and second course is fine and dandy and all, but the main star is, of course, the Kobe beef. Which I do want globs and globs of, if I could.

Look at that marbled beef of rib and sirloin goodness. Look at how the fat flows like a river through the meat, almost crystallizing the meat to the eye.

I just sort of stared at it mesmerized, when the chef asked us how we wanted our meat, and if we wanted to share the sirloin and rib (medium and yes). Then, he got to cooking.

Watching him cook the beef was like watching an artistic performance. The way he carefully sliced off the fat to be used later on to cook with the beansprouts, chopping the meat up delicately into pieces, flipping them just so they achieved the right amount of grilling on each side...

I almost felt like applauding.

He also grilled food items like pumpkin and garlic, and carefully each different food item aside on the plate while doling the meat into the center of the plate.

I don't understand how he made the vegetables taste so good! I don't mind veggies usually but it's not like I LOVE THEM AND I MUST EAT THEM. I could have eaten the pumpkin all day long.

For the beef itself, there are condiments like salt, black pepper, sweet sauce, wasabi, and garlic to go with each bite. So I took a deep breath, picked up a piece of beef, dipped it into the salt, put it into my mouth, and....

I could hear angels singing in my ear.

Okay, maybe not THAT, but oh, the meat was fabulous. Keep in mind I'm a fine-dining philistine, but I do know a great bite when I have one... and another... and another... and another after that.

That adage 'melt-in-your-mouth' is true for Kobe beef. One chew and I could feel the tender juices oozing out, the fat rolling around my tongue before melting away completely, filling my mouth with the sweet succulent taste of beef and whatever condiment I had the beef with.

Everything was just grilled to... the best state the vegetable/ beef can be in, I swear.

My personal favourite add-on for the beef is the pepper and sweet sauce. To me the different tastes blended well for both.

Can you see the beef glistening~ 

As I ate the chef just kept doling out the meat, and once he was done he got started on grilling the side fat he had cut out earlier with beansprouts. He cut the lard into tiny cubes, then mixed them together with the beansprouts, before transferring them over to the plate.

That was pretty good too. Both the lard and the beansprouts were crunchy in different ways (one in a fried way, one in a fresh vegetable way), just my kind of combination. At least even though I'm eating unhealthy food, I'm combining them with something super healthy.

Does that even work?

Anyway, it may not look much, but I was adequately full at the end of the meal. I thought it was only a few chunks of meat, but I guess I looked at it as 'small-sized bites' instead of the big steak it really was (see picture of raw slab of beef). I have a really small appetite, though, so I guess other people will find this adequate only with add-ons like rice or bread.

In the end, speaking as a Malaysian on a Malaysian salary, I felt it was RM315 well spent for a first trial / final meal before leaving meal. I finally tasted and had the legendary Kobe beef in Kobe, and I'd say that the hype surrounding it is pretty justified if you save the beef for special occasions.

Heck, if I was rich (oh, that familiar refrain), I probably won't object to eating it once every month, but yeah.

If you ever find yourself in Kobe, do try out the beef even if just for once. It is after all one of the quintessential things associated with Kobe. Even if a bit pricey, at the very least you can say you have tried authentic Kobe beef... and will hopefully love it, like I did.

I hope that I can bring my parents to eat at the Royal Mouriya someday, too. :) Thanks for a great meal before I left Japan, Royal Mouriya Restaurant.

I guess this is the last of my blog post about my 2013 Japan trip (sigh). I've had so much fun, and I cried so much when I left.

Like, the last time I left Japan in 2011  I cried in the airport. This time, I cried as I got onto the train at Osaka Station.


Tears rolled down my eyes like raindrops - I just could not bear seeing the end of my two-week holiday. After all, there were so many things that I still had yet to do, that I still want to do (such as trying Level 10 spiciness at CoCo Ichi...), but had neither the time nor money to do so.

Hopefully, once I've saved up enough money again, I'll go zooming back to Japan, and spend more time in Osaka next time round. Ooh, plus Hokkaido.. and Okinawa... and Hiroshima...

Wait for me, Japan. I'll come back soon. :)