In Japanese cuisine, robatayaki refers to a method of cooking, similar to barbecuing, in which items of food on skewers are slow-grilled over hot charcoal. Robata originates from a centuries-old country style of cooking by northern Japanese fishermen around a communal hearth that was used as both a cooking area and a source of heat.
Beef + Lamb Ambassador Chef, Andi Bozhiqi of Millbrook Resort’s the Millhouse Restaurant, uses this traditional robata style of cooking over an open charcoal grill for his latest menu offering, Robata Grilled Beef Cheek.
This style of cooking adds a unique flavour and smokiness to the dish, which other cooking methods do not deliver. Andi says beef cheek is the perfect cut for the robata grill as it can handle the more intense flavour which comes from this style of cooking.
This is not a common method of cooking, given the practical constraints of an open charcoal grill, and there are only a handful of restaurants in New Zealand that use it. With Millbrook Resort being so versatile and working closely with his Japanese chefs on a daily basis, Andi has had the opportunity to work with them on the robata grill and learn more about this traditional way of cooking.
Andi says cooking outdoors in this way is made possible by the open surroundings at Millbrook Resort, and it’s especially enjoyable given the location. It connects with his philosophy for cooking, which has always been focused on utilising the freshest of produce and taking inspiration from the landscape around him. He also likes to let the flavours of the food he cooks to be the hero, which is why he loves working with the robata grill.
Andi’s Robata Grilled Beef Cheek
combines some Western ingredients with the Japanese way of cooking, making for a unique dish. Cooking the beef cheek at 130°C for five to six hours and then adding a Japanese BBQ sauce to make it sweet and sticky is a recipe for success with all the guests who dine at Millbrook Resort. www.millbrook.co.nz
Robata Grill Beef Cheek
– serves 2
250g beef cheek
100g Portobello mushroom
2 Tbsp soy
2 Tbsp mirin
50ml double cream
4 Jersey Royal Potatoes
1 Tbsp beef dripping
2 Tbsp Japanese BBQ sauce
100ml red wine
1 tsp Shiso salt
Sear the beef cheek on the robata grill. Place in a pot with the mirepoix and red wine and return to the robota grill with a cover. Cook gently for 2-3 hours or until tender. Blanch the Jersey Royal potatoes until tender and once cooked remove from water and peel. Pan fry the potatoes with beef dripping until crispy. Slice and sauté Portobello mushrooms until soft and no liquid remains in the pan. De-glaze the pan with soy and mirin then add the double cream. Allow to cool then blend until smooth. Steam the Gyoza in a bamboo steamer until soft.
In a bowl place some of the mushroom purée, Gyoza, roasted potato and beef
cheek. Finish with Japanese BBQ sauce and Shiso salt.