Eater has learnt that the head chef and oyakata (suhi master) of London’s only three-Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant — The Araki — will leave the city and return to Japan in March 2019.
Chef Mitsuhiro Araki — who moved to London from Tokyo with his family in 2014 — will leave the restaurant operation in the hands of his current deputy, the British-Chinese Marty Lau. (Araki closed his three-star restaurant Edomae in Tokyo before moving to London.)
The food and travel writer Poonperm Paitayawat (The Skinny Bib) announced this morning on Instagram that Araki will leave for Japan in “the first quarter of next year.”
A spokesperson for the restaurant confirmed to Eater that the chef’s departure will be permanent.
The Araki is one of only three three-Michelin-starred restaurants in London (with Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.) It was awarded the top honour from the Red Guide in the 2018 awards last year.
The 10-seater restaurant in Mayfair is notoriously difficult to get into and serves only one omakase (tasting menu,) which is currently priced at £310 per person, before drinks and service.
Araki’s departure was always a case of when and not if, but it remains significant. Not least for Michelin, who will be reassessing the restaurant before next October’s stars are announced. Will Ryu retain the top ranking?