Mayfair Japanese restaurant The Araki has won three Michelin stars, making it the big winner in 2018’s Michelin Guide to Great Britain and Ireland. It is the first new three-star in the guide since Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester was awarded Michelin’s highest accolade in 2010. The elevation of The Araki brings the total of three-Michelin-starred restaurants in the UK to five.
Words: Ben McCormack
Asked how he felt about the significance of being the UK’s first three-Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant, chef patron Mitsuhiro Araki (above) said: “I have a responsibility for my customer, for our future and my business. I am so happy.” Araki has effectively regained the three stars he held at his sushi restaurant in Tokyo before bringing it to London in 2014.
The other headline restaurant was Claude Bosi at Bibendum (below), which won two Michelin stars. Bosi previously held two stars at his Mayfair restaurant Hibiscus and had been widely expected to retain the honour when he opened in Chelsea in March this year – not least because the restaurant is located in Michelin’s former HQ on Fulham Road.
Still, if Bosi had been expecting two stars, he didn’t show it and, like Araki, the chef was close to tears when he took to the stage. “We’ve been working so hard for this, it’s fantastic,” Bosi said. “We’ve reached a point where we’re happy with what we do and we just do it, we’re relaxing and enjoying what we’re doing.”
In all, there were 16 new one stars awarded, with seven in London, eight in the rest of England and one in Scotland.
The London winners included the contemporary Cantonese restaurant A.Wong in Pimlico as well as two Indian restaurants: Jamavar (above) in Mayfair and Vineet Bhatia London in Chelsea. Phil Howard’s Elystan Street, also in Chelsea, won a star, as did his former restaurant The Square, now owned by Marlon Abela. New York’s Scandinavian restaurant Aquavit and French chef Anne-Sophie Pic’s new dining room at the Four Seasons, La Dame de Pic, both won a star and showed the decision to open in London was a wise one.
Outside London, new one stars included Tom Kerridge’s Marlow pub The Coach, former L’Enclume chef Mark Birchall’s Moor Hall in Lancashire, and Michael Caines’s new hotel Lympstone Manor in Devon. Other hotel restaurants to win one star included Matt Worswick at The Latymer in Surrey, Coworth Park in Berkshire and Whatley Manor (below) in Wiltshire.
But the day belonged to Mitsuhiro Araki. “The Araki opened in 2014 and came out of the gatepost with two stars,” Michael Ellis, international director of the Michelin guides, said. “He had three stars in Tokyo, he’s a master sushi chef and he’s obsessive about quality, tradition and technique. So we had high hopes for him. And this year he completely improved what he was doing. We were very happy to find that.”
The only problem? With only nine seats, getting a place at The Araki’s chef’s counter is going to be even harder than ever.
New Michelin-starred restaurants in London
Claude Bosi at Bibendum
La Dame de Pic
Vineet Bhatia London
New Michelin-starred restaurants in England
The Clock House
Matt Worswick at The Latymer
New Michelin-starred restaurants in Scotland
Restaurants which have lost a Michelin star
5 North St
Lords of the Manor
Sir Charles Napier
Turners @ 69
The Wild Rabbit
This article was published 3 October 2017