"A Day in Tokyo" recipe + pairing | Miso-Marinated Beef Fillet

By Vinomofo
4 months ago
5 min read

No points for guessing why we were so drawn to the mis-marinated beef fillet recipe from the excellent A Day in Tokyo by Brendan Liew and Caryn Ng (available now). As soon as we saw it, we knew we had to give it a try ourselves at home - plus find a couple of wines to pair, naturally. Here’s the recipe, plus our pairing tips.

Pairing tip: "This is a special occasion recipe that demands a special occasion wine. Opt for something that offers complexity and nuance to match the enormity of the umami goodness. Nebbiolo or Rioja Reserva will rise to that challenge – the acid and tannin profiles won’t get lost in the bold flavours of the miso marinade. We recommend a little (or a long) decant to bring those fruit flavours to the fore." Pete, Wine Buyer

La Biòca Aculei Barolo DOCG 2018

We first imported the 2016 vintage of this wine, one that was awarded the Best in Show Barolo from the Decanter World Wine Awards. When we found out we could get our hands on the future vintages, we were ecstatic! While the 2016 Barolo’s were quite approachable after only a few years, the 2018’s are looking to be in it for the long haul. This one’s for ageing, mofo: full of drive and tannin in its youth, this will open up beautifully in a couple of years. Good to pair with this dish whenever you'd like.

Massimo Rattalino Quarantadue42 Barbaresco DOCG 2015

Often compared to its brash and ballsy sibling, Barolo; Barbaresco is another beauty made with the king of hearty reds: nebbiolo. The complexity and depth of flavour is second to none, with heady aromas of roses and violets, alongside sweet, exotic spices and sprinkling of dusty cocoa. It’s that bit more versatile than Barolo, I find, and equally suited to a big, rich stew as it is to more delicate game and truffle dishes. It’ll age miraculously well, though there’s no need for Barolo’s 20-odd years before opening. This one is absolutely delightful now after a spin in the decanter, but will sit happily in the cellar for well over a decade.




Beef is prized in Japan, with various prefectures vying for the best wagyu title. Matsusaka, Kobe and Ōmi are currently the top three, with the pampered cows given massages and fed special blends. 

While Japanese wagyu is wonderful on its own, with just a little bit of salt and pepper, konbu (dried kelp) butter or Yuzukoshō (page 226), this take on roast beef with a side of wafu (Japanese-style) wasabi sauce is just as delicious. This dish is thought to have originated in the Edo era (1603–1868), when the consumption of meat was prohibited. The Hikone Domain (now Shiga Prefecture) would marinate the region’s prized Ōmi beef in miso, presenting this to the shōgun (military leader of Japan) as medicine.


50 ml (1¾ fl oz) sake

100 ml (3½ fl oz) mirin

75 ml (2½ fl oz) soy sauce

100 g (3½ oz) shiromiso (white miso paste)

50 g (1¾ oz) akamiso (red miso paste)

1 × 1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) beef rump or scotch fillet

2 tablespoons neutral oil

Wasabi sauce

60 ml (¼ cup) sake

2 tablespoons soy sauce 

1 tablespoon rice vinegar 

1 garlic clove, grated

1 tablespoon fresh wasabi, grated, or ½ tablespoon powdered wasabi

1 teaspoon sesame oil

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the sake and mirin to the boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat, pour into a container large enough to fit the beef and set aside to cool. Once cool, add the soy sauce, shiromiso and akamiso. Whisk well to combine, then add the beef, ensuring it is well-coated in the marinade. Transfer to the fridge and leave to marinate for 8 hours or overnight, turning once. 

2 Preheat the oven to 70°C (158°F).

3 Remove the beef from the marinade, thoroughly pat dry using paper towels and set aside. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. When the oil is smoking, add the beef and brown quickly on all sides, then remove from the heat and place the beef in a roasting tin. 

4 Add 60 ml (¼ cup) of water to the frying pan to deglaze, then pour the juices into the bottom of the roasting tin. Place in the oven and roast the beef for 2 hours, or until it reaches 52°C (126°F), medium–rare, on a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the fillet. If you prefer your meat cooked to medium, take the beef out at 57°C (135°F); or 65°C (149°F) for well done. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 10–20 minutes before carving.

5 While the beef is resting, make the wasabi sauce. Bring the sake to the boil in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until reduced by half. Add 2 tablespoons of water, along with the soy sauce, and immediately strain the mixture into a bowl. Mix in the remaining ingredients. 

6 To serve, transfer the roast beef to a serving dish, accompanied by the wasabi sauce on the side.

This recipe is from A Day in Tokyo by Brendan Liew and Caryn Ng, published by Smith Street Books, $39.99, available now.

Photography © Alana Dimou

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