Weave your way to Westbourne Grove and you’ll find Michelin-starred Endo at the Rotunda’s new sister restaurant: SUMI. Raising the stakes for Japanese dining in this smart West London neighbourhood, SUMI (the namesake of Endo’s mother), is led by his close cohort, Head Chef, Yasuda Akinori (previously of Zuma), who he worked alongside Endo for many years.
On my visit, it was clear to see that this fairly compact new restaurant which first opened in December 2020 for delivery and takeaway only is one of the most popular around. The realisation of Endo’s career to date, SUMI takes inspiration and direction from Japanese traditions while also paying homage to the many people and places that have inspired Endo on his culinary journey. Strikingly colourful and fresh dishes create a vibrant dining experience created with high-quality ingredients which are reflective of Endo’s personal relationships with the UK’s top seafood suppliers.
With dishes popping with colour against a simple, pale wood panelling interior, I am pleased to have been recommended the sesame seaweed salad to start – a rich, delicious dish bursting with colour and is as beautiful to the eye as it is taste. Other starters to warm up your visit include the SUMI ceviche or a warming mushroom miso soup.
Alongside caviar meanwhile, main dishes include a white fish steak served with SUMI’s seaweed and ponzu sauce and seafood of the day, or the opulent A4 wagyu served with charred puntarella and a yuzu onion sauce which a neighbouring table tucked into. Continuing with our waitress’ recommendations, we move onto the ‘mushroom gohan’ – a hot rice dish served in a steaming Le Creuset with a selection of Japanese mushrooms which acts as a heartier companion to other smaller sushi dishes to follow.
SUMI offers a selection of nigiri, sashimi or temaki style sushi which you can mix and match with your fish of choice: from fatty tuna to salmon, seabass or scallop or my personal recommendation, the lean red tuna which we ordered double of. Best described as a Japanese taco filled with raw fish and rice, tamaki is a variety of hand-rolled sushi with nori seaweed – and is a standout dish.
Highlights include ‘Hotate’ a temaki made with diced scallop and Hana Hojiso flowers and ‘Yasai’ – a vegetarian choice with pickled carrot and mooli radish, smoked and fermented mooli, chives and sesame and soy dressing. To finish, we shared SUMI’s bright green matcha mille crepe: an eye-catching, traditional Japanese delicacy made of thin matcha green tea crepes, layered with fresh cream and dusted with matcha powder which my guest drooled hopelessly over.
To pair SUMI’s collection of cocktails, wines, whiskies and sake does not disappoint. Cocktail lovers are well catered for at SUMI with several choices. Alongside all the classics, signature serves on offer include Kawaii Ne mixed with sake, Portobello Gin, peach and lychee liqueur and yuzu juice; and Momo Iro Pie, made with Cariel Vanilla Vodka, rhubarb jam, lemon juice and egg whites. These sit alongside an extensive selection of Japanese whiskies and sake is also available, alongside wines, Champagne and beer.