Restaurants

London Has a New Three-Michelin-Star Restaurant

The Japanese establishment serves a $400 set menu and doesn’t care about your dietary requirements
Sushi chef Mitsuhiro Araki Photographer: The Asahi Shimbun/The Asahi Shimbun

A Japanese restaurant that seats only nine diners at a time and serves a single £300 ($398) sushi menu on Monday became only the fifth establishment in the U.K. to hold three Michelin stars.

Chef Mitsuhiro Araki moved to London in 2014 to open Araki, which is the first Japanese restaurant in the U.K. to win the top accolade from the French dining guide. He makes no allowances for dietary requirements and a booking only gets you 2½ hours’ dining, in one of two sittings each evening. Araki is the first new U.K. restaurant to earn Michelin three stars since 2010. 

Claude Bosi at Bibendum, located at the Michelin House in London
Photographer: Patricia Niven

Araki joins Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, The Fat Duck and the Waterside Inn at the top. Claude Bosi at Bibendum, a new London restaurant, was awarded two stars, taking that total to 20.

Another 17 establishments were awarded a single star, swelling those ranks to 150. London winners included A Wong, Jamavar, La Dame de Pic, Vineet Bhatia London, Aquavit and Elystan Street.

Stars are generally good for business as well as for chefs’ egos. Agnar Sverrisson recalls when he first won a star at Texture restaurant in London’s Marylebone neighborhood.

“We were quiet after the financial crash, and 2009 was a terrible year,” he said. “But we got a star in January 2010. Then we were crazy busy and finally we started making money.”

Many chefs crave stars, but there are exceptions. French chef Sébastien Bras of Le Suquet restaurant, in Laguiole, last month said he no longer wanted his three stars because they brought too much pressure.

And Boath House, in the Highlands of Scotland, said it was reverting to a simpler style of cooking after holding a star for a decade. The owners said as it was difficult to make a profit as a fine-dining restaurant, and they wanted to serve more accessible food.

Three stars mean exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey; two are for excellent cooking, worth a detour; one denotes a very good restaurant in its category.

The new award winners are:

Three Stars

  • Araki, London

Two Stars

One Star

  • La Dame de Pic, London
  • Elystan Street, London
  • Vineet Bhatia London, London
  • Jamavar, London
  • Aquavit, London
  • A Wong,London
  • Coworth Park, Ascot
  • Moor Hall, Aughton, Lancashire
  • Matt Worswick at the Latymer, Bagshot, Surrey
  • Paco Tacos, Bristol
  • Lympstone Manor, Lympstone, Devon
  • The Dining Room at Whatley Manor, Malmesbury, Wiltshire
  • The Coach, Marlow
  • Clock House, Ripley, Surrey
  • Loch Bay, Isle of Skye, Scotland
  • Wild Honey Inn, Lisdoonvanra, Co. Clare, Ireland

Michelin also awarded 10 Bib Gourmand accolades in London for inexpensive restaurants with good food.

The Bib Gourmand winners:

  1. Cinnamon Bazaar
  2. Clipstone
  3. The Frog E1
  4. Kiln
  5. Kricket
  6. Madame D
  7. Plaquemine Lock
  8. Popolo
  9. Smokestak
  10. Westerns Laundry

Michelin & Cie, Europe’s largest tiremaker, produced its first guide in 1900. It was free of charge until 1920 and contained practical information, including maps and tips on repairing tires. The company is based in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

This year’s U.K. stars were announced at a ceremony attended by chefs at the Brewery in London.

Richard Vines is chief food critic at Bloomberg. Follow him on Twitter @richardvines and Instagram @richard.vines.

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