Mitsuhiro Araki is a three Michelin star sushi master from Tokyo, who has recently relocated to London. When you talk about the world’s best sushi chefs (Jiro Ono, Hachiro Mizutani, Takashi Saito to name a few), Araki would be one of them. He is especially famous for his knowledge of tuna. When time comes for nigiris with akami, chutoro or otoro, during the omakase meal, the sushi master unwraps a huge chunk of tuna and proudly poses for the photographs of the impressed diners. The only difference from when he used to operate in Tokyo, is that this belly of bluefin tuna comes from the coasts of Ireland, not Japan.
To compensate the lack of variety of clams, crustaceans and fish (that are usually abundant at Tsukiji market in Tokyo, but not in Europe), black caviar and white Alba truffle is used at The Araki in London. This is quite a bold move for a traditional Edo-mae style sushi restaurant and if you ask me if such excess is necessary for good sushi, I would say no. But this what makes Araki justify the price of his omakase, which comes to 300 pounds + the service charge. With two glasses of moderately priced wine I paid 374 pounds in total, or almost 70 000 Japanese Yen. That would be more than double what one usually pays at the most expensive sushi shops in Tokyo, such as Sukiyabashi Jiro or Harutaka.
What really shines here though, are not the expensive ingredients used, but Mitsuhiro Araki’s unrivalled skills and expertise of sushi making. Without any doubts, he has no equals in Europe at the moment.
The Araki : 12 New Burlington Street, London W1S 3BF, tel. 020 7287 2481