There’s no reason we should have to compromise between the arguably two most beloved and iconic cuisines of the Orient and the Occident. Should you crave some Nigiri and Nori to commence the night and then move on to Burrata and Bolognese, at Sumosan Twiga you get to do both. Gone are the days of a relative rulebook or general guidelines to adhere to in fine dining and the times when ‘Con-Fusion’ in the culinary world was frequently met with critically raised eyebrows. The last decade saw an explosion in the evolution of fusion cuisine across the globe with the marriage of Eastern and Western ingredients and techniques reaching new heights of popularity as well as standards for gastronomic excellence, creativity and innovation. CSP Times contributor Daniella Wu stops by Japanese-Italian restaurant Sumosan Twiga in Sloane Street to try the best dishes on the menu.
At Sumosan Twiga, patrons are spoiled for choice between upscale Japanese and Italian delicacies, in an alluring monochromatic and gold accented dining parlour right in the heart of London’s snazzy Sloane Street. Not only can you look forward to an evening of impeccable, dynamic service to go with your sashimi and strozzapreti, but you're also in for an intimate and stylish experience with great beats spun by a DJ to curate an upbeat and enjoyable atmosphere. Is there anything quite so exemplary of London’s lavish dining scene than an establishment offering diners an exclusive, opulent and vibrant experience that promises to stimulate them on all possible fronts?
The restaurant enjoys an impressive location smack in the middle of Sloane Street, amongst glitzy high fashion boutiques with the likes of Hermés, Chanel and La Perla and simply from its simple yet sexy black and gold exterior, you can probably muster a guess that dining at Sumosan Twiga is no ordinary culinary experience and there’s a little more to it than meets the eye. This certainly proves to be the case and after we made our way upstairs to the dining room, the bright and debonair interior and the relaxed, sophisticated ambience was a lovely surprise. Another welcome surprise was the atmosphere inside which steadily crescendos throughout the evening to gradually acclimate their patrons to a more dynamic, upbeat and sexier night-time vibe.
The restaurant’s interior design is executed under renowned architect Michele Bonan’s vision and manifests itself into a surprisingly understated yet sophisticated space that screams contemporary European refinery in a classic and timeless monochromatic colour scheme counteracted delicately with golden and bronze accents. Black and white paintings hung around the room reflect the restaurant’s inclusion of Japanese influence against wooden boiserie and charming houndstooth-patterned curtains. One cannot help but admire the stunning piano black marble bar that stands illuminated by a deep and mesmerizing amber glow background. For those who consider themselves sake and spirit connoisseurs, prepare to be wowed by their impressive display of choice whiskey and liquor on show.
East Meets West Culinary Fusion
Cocktails to Begin
Our evening began with some gorgeous cocktails recommended to us by our wonderful and energetic waiter tailored to our personal preferences. So, we ended up choosing the Blonde Daisy – a crisp, sweet and delicate concoction of Belvedere Vodka, Aperol, Mandarin Juice, Peach Syrup and a trickle of Moët & Chandon Champagne, and the refreshing yet robust Twiga Mule – the restaurant’s take on a Moscow Mule done with Vodka, Cynar, Ginger Beer and Chocolate Bitters.
Our first starter was a plump, perfect massive dome of a Burrata, sitting pretty and pristine beneath a smattering of Italian herbs in the centre of the plate and framed by juicy, ripe tomatoes. A vibrant oil with basil reduction was drizzled over the burrata and as soon as we stuck our forks into it, the perfect creamy texture from inside came dribbling out and within seconds we could barely hold ourselves back from demolishing it.
Next up was the Duck Gyoza with Chilli & Spring Onion Ponzu Sauce placed neatly in a row on a single banana leaf glistening at us with an irresistible shimmer in the subtle folds of the outer dumpling pastry and showing off a deep golden-brown charred and crispy bottom. The flavours from the duck actually had a relatively traditional Chinese taste, which was always a wonderfully welcome surprise for this writer with her roots grounded in the far east. Another welcome addition to just about any dish was the generous amount of dipping sauce with its courageous chilli kick to it!
Wagyu Beef Tacos with Galbi Sauce. I’ll just let you digest those words for a second before I chime in and verbalise our shared enthusiasm over just the idea of our next small plates dish. These were such a treat as you may well imagine: succulent prime Wagyu beef coated completely in that incredible sweet barbecue Korean Galbi sauce with droplets of mayonnaise on top and some refreshing lime juice drizzled over. The puffy, cracker-crunchiness of the taco shell also made for a very satisfying texture paired together with the meat. One of our favourite dishes of the night despite being a relatively small plate which cleverly got us pining endlessly for more.
We finally reached the moment I’d been waiting for, the Japanese fish dishes. Our first platter was Seared Salmon with Soy and Teriyaki Sauce. An elegant spread of sliced seared salmon sitting in the dark sauce and sprinkled over with crispy lotus leaves, julienned red and green peppers and garnished with flowers, like all the other preceding dishes. One thing’s for sure, Sumosan Twiga doesn’t mess around with their presentation and is a firm believer in the notion that we eat first with our vision.
Our other anticipated fish plate was the Crab Maki Roll with Marinated Salmon and Furikake Leaves. The delightful textured treat with the breadcrumb-coated outer layer offered a pleasing, gentle crunch to the maki rolls and a wonderful soy-salty flavour from the marinated salmon placed on top.
As we eagerly awaited our pasta dish, the sun had finally set on London, so the restaurant lights had begun to dim whilst the music vamped up a few notches. The atmosphere inside had evolved slowly over the evening from open and bright to intimate and sexy, an apt reflection of the external neighbourhood and its undeniable daytime and nocturnal appeal to locals and tourists alike.
At last, we received our pasta dish, Paccheri with Lobster. I’d personally not tried Paccheri before but I’ve always been a fan of tomato-based seafood pasta dishes with large pasta shapes such as Rigatoni for example, and Paccheri is almost twice as wide. The dish was perfectly al dente with a satisfying bite and drizzled over with a fragrant Italian tomato, olive oil and basil sauce mixed in seared lobster bisque sauce and presented with the lobster’s vibrant red shell beneath all that goodness. The combination of the bisque and the tomatoes made for a simply stunning authentic taste of Italia’s most famed frutti di mare pasta flavours.
Concluding our Japanese-Italian culinary journey that evening was the luxurious Sumosan Chocolate Fondant – a most decadent dessert if we had ever seen one! Encasing the main dessert was a shimmering, intricate dome constructed out of crystallised sugar making it certainly the most intriguing and exciting presentation of a Chocolate Fondant dessert out there. Beneath the dome was what looked like two scoops of vanilla ice cream drizzled over with dark chocolate sauce and underneath the ice cream was a heart of white chocolate and the crumbly, moist texture of chocolate fondant. We tried some of their more refreshing, sour, and citrusy cocktails like the Gin Sour with Raspberries and the Mojito with Bitters & Champagne to accompany our final sweet course.
Adriano, the restaurant's general manager, went out of his way all evening to provide sublime service and an incredibly enjoyable and exciting experience. It was the sort of dynamic, effervescent and charming service you might expect in an authentic coastal establishment in the south of Italy. After enjoying an entire evening of Adriano and the staff’s infectious positivity and charismatic ways, we left the restaurant barely able to move from how full we were, but also immensely pleased. So, if you happen to be looking for a truly special dining experience in the heart of London’s most polished and, look no further than Sumosan Twiga for a spectacular evening of fusion cuisine, spirited service and mood music.
165 Sloane St, London SW1X 9QB, United Kingdom, sumosantwigalondon.com