FACT’s Homara Choudhary experienced Sumosan’s first stand-alone flagship in the Middle East.

Known for its consistency in serving ‘exceptional standards’ of contemporary Japanese cuisine, I was truly excited to finally try the critically acclaimed, award-winning Sumosan in downtown Msheireb. With locations in some of world’s most sophisticated cities, not to mention a popular A-list celebrity hangout, Sumosan is renown globally for serving elegant modern Japanese cuisine.

The Sumosan dining experience begins as soon as you walk through the door. You can’t help but notice the welcoming warm, honeyed amber tones and sophisticated elegant interiors with earthy accents of bronze. High ceilings are complemented with statement chandeliers, soft leather seating and smoked glass mirroring. The perfect setting for lunch or a special evening meal. When we arrived, General Manager Franco Di Tommaso explained that the menu had been revamped to cater for more local preferences and that we must try all the new items as well as some famous signature ones. That was music to my ears!

We began with the Seared Tuna Tataki with Wafu dressing. Cut in thin slices and infused with grapeseed and sesame oil, it was full of flavour with a hint of garlic and Japanese mustard. The texture was soft and the rice vinegar enhanced the taste without being too overpowering.

The second appetiser was also new to the menu. The Black Cod Korokke with mustard miso sauce. Imported from Alaska, the black cod was simply delicious. Combined with chives, mashed potatoes and miso bechamel sauce, it was truly a subliminal addition to the menu. Coated in Japanese breadcrumbs it was crunchy yet soft to bite. The mustard miso sauce complemented this starter perfectly.

The popular Homemade Corn Tacos with piquant Wagyu arrived next. Since opening at the end of last year, almost 5,000 of them have been ordered! It was easy to see why this particular appetiser is a firm favourite. The Wagyu, which had been marinated for 24 hours, was juicy and flavoursome, contrasting excellently with the homemade taco shells. Garnished with galbi and sriracha sauces with fresh cress and lime to the side, these were mini bites of heaven.

Franco explained the reason customers keep returning to Sumosan is because: “We don’t compromise on quality. Food is the main focus here and that’s why we are one of the best Japanese restaurants in Doha. Our prices have remained the same and haven’t gone up and we consistently provide excellent service.”

Speaking of which, as I polished off the last taco a delightful mocktail was brought out for me to try. Made with fresh orange juice, passion fruit, strawberry puree and homemade Thai syrup, the Akai Fuji was light and refreshing. But you have to literally burst a giant bubble to drink this beauty. There’s a reason it’s one of the most Instagrammable drinks on the menu! The Fried Tofu with Shitake Mushrooms and spicy teriyaki arrived as our first main dish. Coated with cornflour it had been dried and marinated overnight before being deep fried. Sprinkled with shitake mushrooms and toban teriyaki sauce, it was firm and yet had a soft texture. Topped with enoki mushrooms and chives, it was a mouth-watering choice with hints of garlic, ginger and soy. It was also an ideal option for vegetarians.

Head Chef Dario Mangoni brought out the Miso Baby Chicken next. It had been marinated in a unique sauce including hatcho miso, garlic, soy, mirin, ginger and shishimi before being chargrilled and lightly garnished with an assortment of roasted nuts and seeds. The crispy coating paired magnificently with the tender chicken, giving it a unique and tasty texture.

Dario was particularly excited for us to try another new item on the menu, the Aburi. A bite size trio of traditional flavours. The Toro with Foie Gras consisted of lightly cooked tuna with Rayu dressing and Kizami wasabi. Smooth and velvety, it melted in the mouth. The Salmon with Ikura and caramelised onions was equally divine but my favourite was the Wagyu A9 with Caviar that had been imported from Iran. The high-grade Waygu with truffle and chives was succulent and devoured in an instant.

Another delectable item from the menu was the Shishito peppers with yuzu den miso. They had just arrived from Japan and had been gently fried with yuzu juice and rice vinegar. Don’t be fooled by the size of the peppers, they may be small but they were surprisingly full of flavour. A must try side dish.

No meal is complete without dessert and we were pleasantly surprised with the latest addition to go on the menu. The Green Tea and Banana Cake with Madagascan vanilla ice cream sent my taste buds into orbit! Garnished with caramelised bananas and salted caramel sauce, this exquisite treat hits the sweet spot beautifully. ✤