Given that RAI is the brain-child of founder Shrabaneswor Rai and Executive Chef Padam Raj Rai, it makes perfect sense that it shares their name.
The multi-course omakase-style Japanese restaurant is the result of 20 years of Chef Padam Raj Rai's work in Japanese restaurants in London. Naturally, the tasting menu reflects this evolution of Japanese cuisine, while featuring unique British products. These meticulously-sourced ingredients, such as Hyogo Prefecture Kobe, draw immediate attention.
The menu changes according to the season, but generally follows a steady equation: first comes a light snack, then some sushi, then seven courses to display Rai's blend of innovation and tradition (accompanied by nori), and finally dessert. Diners can also add additional courses, such as the signature Wagyu or Sushi Omakase.
Expect to see your sushi marinated in a soy that was aged for 10 years, then topped with cavier. Kizami wasabi from Japan also might make an appearance, alongside Sanpuku nori from Japan’s Ariake Sea. Some highlights from Rai's opening menu showcase their international taste - perhaps you'll see 48-hour marinated Chilean seabass with goast cheese and broccoli puree, orkney scallop sashimi with British parsnip, plum, spicy miso foam and home-made tsukemono, or new-style seared butterfish sashimi with red jalapeno sauce. For dessert, the menu boasts of wagyu chocolate with rosemary, thyme, cranberries, pistachio, yuzu and mixed berries that was created from the leftover wagyu fat.
This sustainable trend continues on in Rai's decor - the tableware is all made of recycled materials, and the interior reflects the minimalistic and natural design of contemporary restaurants in Japan. Peer through the front glass, and you'll see an expansive room decorated in neutral tones and wood paneling.
And speaking of glass, don't forget to to take your pick from their selection of sake, wine, and spirits. You can buy by the glass or the bottle, but it's likely you'll get a pairing recommendation with your meal. After all, Rai is nothing if not meticulous.