Stylish sushi: dinner at Sumosan Twiga

By Sam Bradley | 09 Apr 2022 | Indulge, Travel

Spectacular Japanese cuisine in the heart of Knightsbridge

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It’s early morning, the sun just peeking over the horizon. Springtime, the air cool and fresh, but without the biting cold from previous months. You are walking through an orchard, barefoot, savouring the sensation of soft soil and damp grass underfoot. Surrounding you in every direction are cherry blossoms, their pale pink and snow-white jewels sparking in the morning light, even on the faraway hills in the distance. The delicately sweet scent of the blossoms is mild, but their subtle scent permeates the morning air. A faint breeze dislodges a flurry of the fragile petals, sending them spinning, dancing, and tumbling down to gently nestle in the grass below. 

You may feel as though you’re walking through a cherry blossom spring in Japan, but this is actually Sumosan Twiga, a glamorous and contemporary Japanese restaurant located in Knightsbridge, London. Events are held on a regular basis, and tonight we’re celebrating Sakura (the cherry blossoms of Springtime). The practice of Hanami (literally ‘viewing flowers’) dates back more than 1,000 years, and is a strong reminder of the Japanese concept of ‘mono no aware’ – the realization that beauty is fleeting and nothing lasts forever. Likewise, the food presented is impermanent (it certainly didn’t stay on our plates long) but still stunningly prepared and presented. 

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We began with starters of beef tartar (accompanied by sweet soy sauce and nashi pear) and bluefin tuna furikaki. The beef tartar got the meal off to a delightfully bold start, while for the furikaki dish the wasabi mayonnaise managed to perfectly enhance the tuna rather than overpower it (always a danger with wasabi). Throughout the meal we were impressed by the chef’s ability to retain the element of surprise, with some dishes bold and daring but then well contrasted in the next dish with flavours that were light and subtle.

The sushi dishes that followed starters (Peking duck and soft-shell crab maki rolls) were wonderfully muted, allowing the flavours to delicately shine through. The duck (well complemented by cucumber and leek) was light and fluffy and delicious, but it was the crab roll that really stole the show: the rice was perfectly prepared to match the density of the crab, meaning the textures were perfectly muted to each other with the only difference being in taste. The ginger, garri, spring onions and ponzu sauce served with the crab all subtly enhanced the flavours, and the presentation was once again exquisite (although just as temporary). 

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The breaded lamb cutlets with mustard sauce and the lightly basted prawn noodles both made for hearty and filling mains dishes. The sesame infused broccoli was maybe a touch on the plain side, but still worked well as an accompaniment to the flavour-filled lamb and prawn dishes. Dessert is often my favourite course, and tonight was no exception. The castella cake was slightly on the powdery side, but saved by the sharp raspberry jelly kick and the intricately woven gold-powdered woven strands.

The highlight though – and not just of the dessert but the whole meal – was the cheesecake: soft and creamy flavours, and an almost panna cotta-like texture that was simply heavenly. As a diehard oven-cheesecake fan I confess it takes a lot to sell me on the fridge-prepared variety, but this was more than up to the task. All the accompaniments, such as a strong meringue topping, finely glazed shiro-miso caramel, a side serving of rich lemon sorbet, and spectacular presentation, only served to enhance what was already a memorable dish. 

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While the atmosphere at the start of the meal may have felt like a calm spring morning amongst delicate spring blossoms, the energy levels escalated notably as the evening progressed. With almost all the tables occupied with appreciative diners, three classically dressed geishas performed local dances between courses. A talented violinist serenaded the guests while accompanied by some beats from the DJ; not a traditional musical combination, but one that worked surprisingly well. Sumosan Twiga is set over three floors, including a mixology focused bar and a late-night club (open on weekends), so no doubt it’s a place where energy levels continue to ramp up well into the night. 

There are weekly events including Wednesday live music nights, Tuesday cocktail evenings and Saturday bottomless brunches, as well as special events for New Year’s Eve, summer parties and anything else worth celebrating – keep an eye on their Instagram account for updates. Personally, I don’t intend to wait that long: there’s an entire Italian half of the menu just waiting to be explored, while the cheesecake alone is reason enough to merit a return visit. 

sumosantwigalondon.com

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