The Araki is an award winning restaurant located in the Mayfair district of London. Most notably it was awarded two Michelin stars in the 2016 Michelin Guide while only established in 2014. After closing his initial store in Tokyo, award winning chef, Mitsuhiro Araki moved his talents to London. The Araki has one of the more intimate Japanese dining experiences. The entire restaurant only seats 9 people at the counter and 6 in a private room.
Shown above is the exact dining setting of the restaurant. Everybody is seated at the counter and has a front row view of everything being created. In a sense, it is somewhat like a dinner show. In addition to the intimate setting, there are at least 6 waiters and assistant chefs helping around to sure every guest is attended to.
The Araki is a very traditional Japanese sushi experience. Many of the sushi dishes are created to be eaten with your hands and Mitsuhiro pays a lot of attention to detail.
So this is how my meal went…
Chef Mitsuhiro Araki is exceptionally known for his knowledge in tuna. So in the beginning of every meal, you will see him take out different cuts of tuna which will later be prepared.
We started off with a fish soup that started its preparation the day before.
Next, we moved on to a sampling platter that had everything from fresh abalone, hamachi, salmon, and caviar.
Then a mixed tuna dished was served with ample amounts of truffles.
After, the main attraction was then served. The sushi consisted of the different cuts of tuna, squid, and lobster. All of which were prepared by hand in front of your eyes then handed to you personally to savor every piece.
Before dessert, you will then have the option to request one more roll of choice in case you were still hungry. Many people do, so don’t feel ashamed to ask for something extra. The whole meal certainly won’t be the most filling for many people.
To finish everything off, dessert comprised of a deliciously small piece of mochi. It was great, too bad it was quite small and left me wishing for more.
Now, this is what was served to me during my dining experience. Many experiences will be different depending on the ingredients available and dishes prepared, but they will all be in a similar style.
The Araki serves the same set meal to every guest at the table. There are no specific menus as fresh ingredients come and go, but expect the finest quality with whatever food you’re indulging in. You will always be greeted with the most premium of ingredients, anything from the rare Almas caviar to loads of white truffles. There will always be something luxurious on the plates in front of you. The fresh seafood and shellfish are imported from all over Europe and other places around the world. We were extremely fortunate to arrive on a day that had a King Salmon arrive from New Zealand.
The Araki only serves sushi dishes and does not serve tempura, teriyaki, or any meat dishes. It is truly a sushi experience. You are able to see the master chef, Mitsuhiro Araki, work his magic right before your eyes, preparing each sushi piece by piece. It is truly a work of art.
Every day, The Araki is only open for 2 dinner sittings. The first sitting begins at 6 pm while the second beings at 8:30 pm. Dinner lasts for approximately 2 hours to 2.5 hours depending on drinks and such. Be sure to book well in advance as they only have room to accommodate 18 guests every day! You can reserve your spot by calling +44 20 7287 2481
When making your reservation, you will be asked to provide a credit card number which will ensure that your seat is reserved. The Araki has a 24-hour cancellation policy.
Now with all this attention to detail, it is no surprise that The Araki will come at a steep price tag. The price tag for dinner per person is £300 including VAT but excluding any service charges or drinks. An automatic 15% service charge was added to our bill and our total came to around £400 per person when taking into all account drinks and service charges.
Now, what did I think of this whole experience? Although I’m no food connoisseur, the food was fantastic and the service was exceptional. I extremely enjoyed the intimacy and attention to detail Mitsuhiro Araki and his staff provides.
I would highly recommend The Araki if you happen to be in London and craving the finest sushi experience. This will be one of the best sushi restaurants you can find in all of Europe and comparable to the finest restaurants in Japan. If you’re happy to shell out the £300 per person, this place is a no brainer.
Unfortunately for me, this was just a temporary taste of luxury. I wouldn’t be able to justify spending £400 to return for a second time, not yet at least. Also, I came out of this meal slightly underwhelmed with the amount of food served. Most people will be just perfectly full, but surely not stuffed by any means.
Overall, The Araki is an exceptional Japanese dining experience and without question deserves its two Michelin stars. I would be delighted to hear what your experiences here were like and what specialty was served during your sitting! If you have any questions, please feel free to shoot me a message.
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