Sunday, 17 October 2010

Sumosan restaurant review

Nobu and Zuma dominate London's modern Japanese dining scene, gaining column inches as much for their celebrity clientele as for their food. Sumosan is something of a modest younger sister flying slightly under the radar.

Tucked away on a quiet side street off Green Park next to a Vietnamese art gallery, Sumosan's light, airy space is decked out in tasteful beige and lilac. The pared down interiors are very zen-like and calming.

I visited on a Wednesday lunchtime and the place was reassuringly buzzing with a mixture of wealthy Russian expats (the restaurant is Russian owned), office workers and ladies who lunch. Bypassing the á la carte menu offering the likes of seasonal Toro stuffed with foie gras, and sea urchin risotto, I opt for the reasonably priced five course lunch menu for £22.50, with a side of rock shrimp tempura.

Lunch begins with a refreshing cup of miso soup with tiny shiitake mushrooms, that serves as the perfect palate cleanser. Next up is a delicious, umami-rich Kaiso salad crammed with sesame seeds and peanut butter, which I enjoy with a glass of Domaine de Joy Ugni Blanc from Gascony. The rock shrimp tempura doesn't disappoint - made up of heavenly chunks of fried shrimp, lifted by the citrus Yuzu dressing.

A sashimi selection follows, featuring the usual suspects: salmon, tuna (which is air-shipped from the US at -80 degrees), prawn, and richly flavoured white bait, all of which match incredibly well with my crisp, lime-fueled 2008 Hunter's Riesling from Marlborough, New Zealand.

For the main event, I go for the Black Cod with Miso, keen to see how it fares against the Nobu version. I was slightly disappointed by its diminutive size - call it the Kylie Minogue of the fish world, but what it lacked in size it made up for in flavour. Sweet and rich with a melt-in-the-mouth texture, there are few flavour experiences that top that of well cooked Black Cod. It's all consuming, transcendental even, and I feel almost beatific reverence for the fish and the pleasure it produced. A tricky one to match with wine, my 2008 Tasmanian Pinot Noir from Devil's Corner, whilst not harmonizing completely, far from jarred.

Pudding is a decadent affair. I choose Sumosan's signature dish - a white chocolate fondant, which arrives in an exquisitely crafted golden cage made of latticed sugar. Gooey and toothy tinglingly sweet, it tastes like liquid Milky Way and matches surprisingly well with my Thienot 2002 Champagne, for which Sumosan are the sole suppliers.

Although I chose to drink wine, there's an extensive saké list to experiment with. Head Sommelier Jean-Louis Naveilhan offers eight different sakés by the glass, and saké flights – three sakés by the glass for £10.50. Naveilhan is adamant that the rice wine, which should always be served chilled, can be enjoyed throughout the meal, from apéritif to pudding.

1 comment:

  1. Are you paying over $5 / pack of cigarettes? I buy my cigs at Duty Free Depot and this saves me over 50%.