Sumosan (October 2012)

About the worst thing a restaurant could be faulted for is not being made to feel welcome and in every sense this was the impression I took away from Sumosan. The exterior of the restaurant looks forbidding with a passer-by not being in a position at all to discern what may be happening inside, the interior being hidden by full-length blinds. Had a passer-by been able to look in, then ‘not a lot’ would have been the answer. Despite the restaurant being no more than half full on a Monday lunch, my dining comrade and I were treated in a contemptuous fashion by the staff. Within less than a minute of being seated, we were asked (or should I say forced) to order. The food came very quickly and one could not help feel that one was being rushed. We ordered the set lunch (poor value for £26.50 especially given the portion sizes), and one particularly egregious example of poor service that stands out was the fact that my chopsticks still in hand and with ginger still on my plate (and sushi in my mouth) my plate was whisked away from under my nose. A separate question may be why one would want to linger here anyway given the distinctly sterile atmosphere, muted colours, limited background noise and mostly despondent diners, perhaps similarly nonplussed by the whole experience. In terms of the food, there was not much to recommend Sumosan in this respect either. In particular, my salmon teryiaki main was lukewarm and my ‘Japanese salad’ comprised lettuce and tomato, more English than Eastern. Green tea ice cream was the culinary highlight, refreshing and nicely served with blackberries and redcurrants, but by this stage my patience with Sumosan had already waned. The waiter's evident displeasure in having to divide our bill in two at the meal's conclusion, was hardly a surprise given the above, but seemed a fitting finale and indeed another reason not to return.