RAI, the new creative and multi-course concept, created by and named after founder Shrabaneswor Rai and executive chef Padam Raj Rai, has finally arrived in London’s Fitzrovia neighbourhood.
Offering a masterclass in fine-dining, RAI’s multi-course omakase-style tasting menus fuse the highest quality Japanese dishes with unique ingredients from the UK and around the world, to bring a never-seen-before style of cooking to central London.
Having won critical acclaim at Hot Stone in Islington’s Chapel Market, Padam brings over 20 years of experience in some of the city’s most renowned Japanese restaurants to RAI. His impeccable tasting menus chart the history and modern-day evolution of Japanese cuisine whilst showcasing meticulously sourced ingredients, including Hyōgo Prefecture Kobe.
Open Wednesday – Saturday, RAI’s elegant, seasonal tasting menus offer an aesthetically pleasing and contemporary take on modern Japanese cuisine. Priced at £130 per person, chef Padam’s sublime flavour combinations provide diners with an immersive gastronomic experience like no other with picture-perfect plates from start to finish.
The tasting menus will change regularly according to what is in season but will usually begin with a light and intricate snack such as crispy rice and tuna; alongside homemade tofu, marinated in ten years-aged soy and topped with ponzu caviar. Seven delicate and carefully balanced plates follow showcasing tradition and innovation, with dishes featuring the highest-grade Kagoshima A5 wagyu with kizami wasabi from Japan, alongside the finest nori from Japan’s Ariake Sea – Sanpuku.
Highlights on the inaugural tasting menu include hand dived Orkney scallop sashimi with British parsnip, plum, spicy miso foam and home-made tsukemono; 48hrs marinated Chilean seabass with goats’ cheese and broccoli puree; alongside new style seared butterfish sashimi with red jalapeno sauce.
For dessert, diners can expect chef Padam’s signature wagyu chocolate with rosemary, thyme, cranberries, pistachio, yuzu and mixed berries – made with fat from the wagyu that would otherwise be wasted, this is a dish that Padam has worked on meticulously and is now ready to share. Guests will finish with petit fours of organic white chocolate with yuzu, and organic dark chocolate with Yamazaki 12yrs whisky.
Those wishing to explore innovative Japanese techniques further can opt for supplement courses spotlighting the signature Wagyu (£69) and Sushi Omakase (£28).
Kanpai! In the glass
To complement the menu, RAI offers a choice of sake by the glass, bottle and alongside a concise and carefully thought-out list of wines from France, Italy and Spain. There is also a range of Japanese spirits, including Ryoma seven-year-old rum, Nikka Coffey gin and a number of Suntory whiskies, as well as Kirin beer.
The modern style of cooking is reflected in the contemporary interiors with the restaurant décor drawing inspiration from the philosophy of minimalism and Japanese design. Boasting traditional wooden panelling, accent tiling and eye-catching artwork by 18th century Japanese ukiyo-e painter Hokusai Katsushika, the neutral tones create a relaxed and refined atmosphere for guests to enjoy.
Alongside the sustainably sourced menu offering, RAI also aims to raise awareness of the current environmental challenges and present solutions, using a selection of tableware designed by Rickie Cheuk that have been handcrafted from scratch using recycled materials such as plastics, scrap metals and driftwoods from England’s beaches.
For a culinary masterclass in Japanese cuisine visit RAI.
Address: 3 Windmill St, London W1T 2HY
Phone: 020 7419 0305