Wasabi from Field to Table
For the second issue of our sustainability series, we look at our British wasabi growers, giving you an insight into how it’s grown and how we like to use it.
We pride ourselves on sourcing our wasabi directly from The Wasabi Company, the first company in Europe to grow this fiery plant. At first, we used imported Japanese wasabi but were not happy with the freshness and the distance it had to travel, so we started looking for growers in the UK and aimed to reduce our carbon footprint.
The Wasabi Company uses farms in Hampshire and Dorset and follows ancient Japanese growing techniques. The wasabi is planted in speciality beds supplied by natural springs. Each plant is harvested by hand when it reaches maturity after about one and a half to two years. The freshness is unparalleled due to the excellent growing techniques and the short distance from field to restaurant.
To prepare our freshly grated wasabi, we dip the root in sugar before grating. The sugar helps extract the liquid whilst also exposing a greater surface area of the plant, resulting in maximum spiciness and a deep aroma. The wasabi is grated into a fine paste at the table using a traditional wasabi grater.
Freshness is the key to unlocking the vibrant flavour of wasabi; the flavour develops as soon as its grated, reaching its peak only a few minutes after grating and exposure to the air. The spicy paste will eventually lose all taste after around 15 minutes.
Wasabi is an essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine; we transform ours into aioli, salsa and even caviar; for a whole range of our dishes. Our favourite way to serve it is by grating it fresh alongside our “Toro nigiri”. Whilst we are shut, you can order our “Japanese Wagyu beef with wasabi butter” or “Smoked potatoes with wasabi aioli” from our delivery and collection menu now.