The Araki

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  • Visit Date: 28th January 2022
  • Restaurant: The Araki
  • Address: 12 Burlington St, London, W1S 3BH
  • Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7287 2481

Wow. Utmost respect. What an experience.

Like many, I had promised myself a visit to The Araki so many times, and it had been on my list for so long, and I missed my chance to ever visit when the amazing Mitsuhiro Araki launched in 2014. When he left in 2019 he left the helm to Marty Lau, his apprentice. Michelin stripped them of the three stars held which must have been a blow, but that means they need to work hard and deliver in their own right.  Although I can’t compare to any previous experience, I was thoroughly impressed by this being the only Araki experience I now know. The most intimate of settings, I was sat central at the counter, where there were just eight seats. Watching the preparation of each dish, and the explanation, passion, pride and love was wonderful. There were some truly special moments and learning how to hook my hand over my nigiri, holding my index finger in place at the top of my nigiri, and my thumb and middle fingers either side, and then turning it upside down, so that when I placed it in my mouth, the soy and fish hit my palate first. I was so swept up in the moment of this, I lost myself and missed taking a first nigiri photo. Beautiful tuna, the otoro was excellent, buttery and just delicious. You are provided with a damp pinch napkin to squeeze after holding each nigiri.

Highlights of other nigiri were red mullet, squid, rainbow trout, scallops that had been steamed in sake and pulled into threads, pickled mackerel, lobster roll, sweet langoustine. All using ingredients from Cornwall, Scotland, even Hampshire and smoked caviar by Exmoor. A Golden albino caviar was incredibly good. My absolute favourite was a hand roll of tuna and truffle. Holy moly- the perfect nightcap. An abalone dish at the very start was excellent, along with a tuna tartare with scrambled egg and plenty of truffle.

I washed everything down with the two white wines, each by the glass, and they were the perfect pairing. I loved it all, and I am sure in time Marty will acquire a star, and it will be absolutely deserved as all the ingredients are there. Service was excellent, I will be back, one to now watch for sure.

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