Rosendale Design has masterfully brought the renowned Japanese steakhouse Aragawa to London, marking its first overseas outpost. Located in a historic townhouse in Mayfair, the restaurant promises an opulent dining experience, known for serving what is claimed to be the UK’s most expensive steak – a £900 cut of wagyu beef from Shiga prefecture.

Entrance and Initial Impressions

Upon entering Aragawa, guests are immediately enveloped in an ambiance that marries traditional Japanese aesthetics with a contemporary twist. The journey begins through a stately archway leading into a wood-paneled reception area painted in a serene pale green. This entrance sets the tone for the sophisticated yet culturally rich environment that lies within.

A corridor illuminated by natural light from overhead skylights guides visitors past an elegantly designed wine display cabinet. This pathway opens up to a private dining room, accessed through glass and wood doors, where a slatted wooden screen offers a glimpse of the space while maintaining a sense of exclusivity.

Ground Floor Design Elements

The ground floor features pendant lamps inspired by traditional Japanese paper lanterns. These lights create a striking visual as they hang through a void between the ground floor and the basement, drawing the eye and providing a preview of the main dining area below. The lanterns, with their contemporary interpretation, serve as a pivotal design element that connects the two levels of the restaurant.

Descending to the Main Dining Area

As guests descend to the main restaurant area, they pass by an open kitchen, prominently featuring a Japanese kiln surrounded by cornflower-blue tiles. This kiln, essential for preparing Aragawa’s specialty Kobe beef, is modeled after the original in Tokyo. Rosendale Design worked meticulously with a local manufacturer to replicate this feature, ensuring it seamlessly fits into the London setting while paying homage to its Tokyo counterpart.

The Main Dining Room

The primary dining space exudes a sense of luxury and warmth. Lanterns continue to be a dominant feature, suspended from a dark wood lattice ceiling that echoes the architecture of traditional Japanese castles. This intricate ceiling design not only adds to the authenticity of the space but also enhances the overall atmosphere.

Walls adorned with hand-painted red-and-gold panels add a rich, dramatic flair to the dining area. These panels, inspired by Nishijin silk kimonos, are illuminated softly, highlighting their intricate patterns and enhancing the room’s opulent feel. The choice of crimson-red velvet-lined seating further accentuates the luxurious ambiance, providing a vivid contrast against the pristine white tablecloths.

Culinary Experience and Ambiance

The careful attention to detail in the restaurant’s design mirrors the precision and quality of the culinary experience offered at Aragawa. The open kitchen, visible to diners, allows them to witness the meticulous preparation of their meals, adding to the immersive dining experience. The combination of traditional Japanese cooking techniques with the luxurious setting ensures that every visit to Aragawa is memorable.

Private Dining and Exclusive Features

The private dining room, with its ability to seat 12 guests, offers an intimate setting for special occasions. The room is designed to provide privacy while still feeling connected to the overall aesthetic of the restaurant. The use of glass and wood doors, along with the slatted wooden screen, ensures that this space feels exclusive yet inviting.

Integration of Japanese Design with a Contemporary Twist

Rosendale Design’s approach to integrating traditional Japanese elements with contemporary design ensures that Aragawa does not veer into kitsch. Instead, it stands as a sophisticated representation of Japanese culture, adapted for a London audience. The blend of deep reds, golds, and dark woods throughout the space creates a cohesive design language that is both rich and inviting.

Conclusion: A New Benchmark for Luxury Dining

Aragawa in Mayfair sets a new benchmark for luxury dining in London. Its design, meticulously crafted by Rosendale Design, offers a unique blend of traditional Japanese aesthetics with modern luxury. From the thoughtful entrance to the dramatic main dining room, every element has been considered to provide an unparalleled dining experience. This first international outpost of Aragawa not only brings its renowned cuisine to a new audience but also introduces a new standard of restaurant design that is both authentic and innovative.

Photography: Justin De Souza


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