FACT caught up with Mirco Beutler, known to industry insiders as The Dry Ager Guy, in his sleek new boutique to talk about all things meat and to discover precisely what dry aging entails.
Walking into The Dry Age Boutique in Wafi Mall, potential customers are greeted with a sleek butcher shop that impresses with a display of carefully sourced dry aged primal cuts inside a record-breaking eight-metre-wide, triple glazed, Italian-crafted glass cold room. The Dry Age Boutique comes to Dubai from Mirco Beutler, a hospitality professional with more than a decade of international and regional F&B experience.
“If you enter the Dry Age Boutique, you will be overwhelmed by the meat aging display eight meters in length. It’s a glass box custom made and produced with glass from Italy, technology from Germany and customised waterproof lights from Poland. The whole thing is very special and will overwhelm you in the beginning. You will immediately understand how serious we are about dry aging meat,” Mirco tells us as we peruse the various cuts on display.
The new boutique feels more akin to entering a high-end fashion store with its premium products, shiny glass display cases and a bespoke style of service that makes The Dry Age Boutique more than just an elevated butcher shop:
“Entering into the Boutique, you will be greeted by one of our boutique associates, or myself, and will feel the slick and clean boutique environment with marble and dark colours. A large variety of dry aged meat cuts from various grades are displayed amidst ambient lighting. You will receive the highest levels of customers service.”
For those unversed in dry aging, Mirco and his enthusiastic team are on hand to explain not only the process but to help you to select a premium cut that is right for you. “We provide people who come to us without any knowledge, the information and an introduction to Dry Aging. We also coach them through the different ranges we provide, starting with the breed, and going over marbling grades. Dry Aging is basically a form of meat maturing. Dry Aging involves the extraction of moisture from the cut. After 14 days, the meat starts to become extremely tender. Anything after 14 days will get a stronger taste, a nutty flavour. Thirty days is a standard term for dry aging, but different places will have a different optimum time – 45, 60 or 90 days.”
The process is a relatively simple combination of temperate and humidity, with the premium cuts stored within glass refrigeration units embedded into the walls of the boutique: “The Dry Ager is a refrigeration unit that works on a very precise temperature range which can be adjusted for meat, while the humidity should be between 70 and 80 per cent in order to create the best environment for dry aging the product.”
It’s not only beef that is available to purchase but products such as lamb and duck. Mirco explains that there is an art to the process of dry aging, with different meats requiring different periods in the Dry Ager: “Different meats have different dry aging times, so a lamb will be two to three weeks maximum because there is not much meat on the animal and the longer your dry it, the more moisture you are removing, which will cause the product to shrink. The duck is seven to ten days. You can also do fish which we will add to our portfolio soon, for example, yellowfin tuna and salmon.”
In celebration of such a unique and premium product, the Dry Age Boutique offers a tasting experience that needs to be pre-booked in advance. Customers are invited into the glass-fronted private tasting room to sample any of the cuts that are available for purchase. Mirco talks passionately about his reasons for implementing such a bespoke experience: “We have every steak cut available to taste. You can have the ultimate tasting experience to determine what you would like to purchase. Dry age steaks are a luxury item and would be a highlight on the menu at home. They are not everyday consumables and should be treated like that. In our tasting room, we try to bring you closer to the world of dry aging. You will leave the boutique with an extra-ordinary product in luxury packaging.”
Speaking of the packaging, there is little doubt that the meat on offer is a premium product. The upmarket environment and location in Wafi Mall all play into a brand where prices range from AED 395 for a kilo of Angus MS 3-4 to AED 2,225 per kilo of exclusive cuts, including 9+ Wagyu or Japanese A5 that are rarely available for sale to consumers as dry aged products.
“Every single piece of the boutique is me and myself only. I have designed the cold room, the entire boutique. Every single screw has been thought through. The packaging idea is not only my idea. I guess it’s Dior or Chanel’s idea, which I took as a guideline in having a luxury product, like buying a handbag. It took a long time and COVID wasn’t on our side”, Mirco tells us.
When it comes to the on-going global pandemic, Mirco explains that the boutique wouldn’t have happened if it were not for the dreaded coronavirus. “We had a tremendous increase in demand for the home edition of the Dry Ager, so people were spending AED 15,000 to start dry aging at home. I thought that if so many people at home were buying the technology, then there is a demand for the meat itself. People would still like to have the best quality which you would normally have in restaurants, and we can offer a restaurant experience at home with meat from the Dry Age Boutique.”
Mirco speaks charismatically and openly about the project and the unrivalled guest experience he is trying to promote at his boutique: “Our portfolio consists of various products for different interests. There are different forms of dry aging, for example, butter aging. If you butter-coat the meat, there will be less wastage as the meat is protected. We also do different rubs around the meat, which also protect the meat and provide it with a nice aroma without impacting the flavour. It’s aesthetic, I mean, why would you not wrap a G-class in truffle?”
This candid and honest business approach has been Mirco’s strength as he’s built strategic partnerships with suppliers, homegrown brands and regional chefs. While The Dry Age Boutique has only just opened in Dubai, there are already expansion plans on the horizon: “Dubai has been my home city for over a decade, and is a very innovative city of superlatives in all different aspects. Why not have the largest dry age boutique store built in the city of innovation? Our expertise and partners are in this region, and our flagship store is definitely Dubai. However, we will shortly expand into Saudi Arabia and are currently looking for sites in New York City.”
The Dry Age Boutique is now open at Wafi Mall, opposite Starbucks. Valet parking is available at Pharoah’s Club.
GO: Visit thedryageboutique.com for more information.