Sumosan review: New Japanese restaurant in Dubai is worthy of its international reputation

Its signature dishes have garnered a following and helped the high-end chain make an impact in a crowded market

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If there’s one thing Dubai doesn’t need, it’s another Japanese restaurant. But for Sumosan, we can make room.

The restaurant, which first opened in Moscow, has become a celebrity favourite in cities including Berlin, Courchevel, Doha, London and Riyadh, establishing itself as the go-to spot for good vibes and even better food.

And its newest location, in The Dubai Edition hotel in the heart of Downtown, hopes to keep up that reputation.

Where to sit, what to expect

The grand, spiral staircase in the lobby of The Dubai Edition leads directly to the entrance of Sumosan on the mezzanine level (there’s also an elevator), and once inside, the mood immediately switches thanks to the restaurant’s low lighting and slick, dark aesthetic.

We are greeted warmly by hosts who quickly whisk us to our table, which is directly in front of the large open kitchen, giving us front-row seats to the evening’s action.

Flanking the wall on the opposite side of the restaurant are several cosy booths, where diners can enjoy a more intimate setting.

There’s also a bar on one side of the restaurant, featuring a large gold palm tree as a centre piece and plenty of pull-up stools surrounding it. At 8pm on a Thursday evening, it’s buzzing with Business Bay’s after-work crowd.

Nearby, a DJ tucked away in a discreet booth spins a soundtrack that offers the perfect vibe — just enough background music to create a lively buzz, but not so loud we can’t hear ourselves talk.

The menu

There’s certainly no shortage of Japanese restaurants in Dubai, so a menu offering something unique can be hard to find. But Sumosan offers several signature dishes on its menu — such as the classic Sumosan surprise lobster salad and the crispy sushi rice pizza — which have garnered a following and has helped the restaurant carve out a spot for itself in a crowded market.

We start with the Sumosan tuna avocado tartare, served with cured quail egg yolk and truffle sauce (Dh135), another signature recommended by our knowledgeable server, Reuben. Fresh, light and packed with rich flavour — it makes for a delicious starter.

We also try the crispy duck salad (Dh110), topped with pomegranates and the chef’s signature hoisin sauce. The duck is cooked for eight hours and served in a light, crisp coating that is perfectly complemented by the sweet, tangy dressing. We are surprised by how moreish it is — an early contender for the night’s best dish.

The house-made Wagyu gyozas (Dh95) are crispy on the outside and deliciously tender within, and are served with a rich sesame sauce that we mop up with our dumplings. The wasabi prawns (Dh110), served with a mango and passion fruit salsa, are bursting with flavour and offer just enough of a kick to give our nostrils a warming tingle.

We couldn’t not try the crispy sushi rice pizza with salmon furikake (Dh85). The deep-fried crispy base is topped with a thick, glistening layer of perfectly pink salmon on a bed of fresh cucumber, served with a spicy tomato sauce to drizzle on top at our discretion. The generously portioned dish certainly lives up to its hype.

For the main course, we are in the mood for meat, and despite a strong selection of steak options, we opt for the 48-hour marinated slow-cooked beef short ribs (Dh210), and we are glad we did. They are melt-in-the-mouth tender and packed with flavour, served with a complementary gravy that lets the meat shine.

We only have enough room to try the Sumosan chocolate fondant (Dh70), served beneath a delicate sugar cage topped with miso sauce and a creamy white chocolate centre. What’s not to like?

Standout dish

Cliched as it may be, Sumosan’s 24-hour miso black cod (Dh220) is a faultless classic. It may not be reinventing the wheel, but the hefty slab of fish is crispy on the outside thanks to a sweet glaze, with a velvety centre so soft, it makes picking it apart with chopsticks a little on the challenging side. It comes with a delicious dollop of tangy miso on the side.

A chat with the chef

Head chef Pavel Li is new to Sumosan, but has worked as a head chef at Japanese kitchens in New York City and Kuwait for more than 17 years. “At Sumosan, we pride ourselves on the freshness and quality of ingredients and source products from local suppliers,” he says. “I try not to add too many flavours in order to convey the essence of the main ingredients as much as possible and allow each component to bring out the full palette of flavours.”

As for his recommendations? “For vegetarians, try our crispy sushi rice spicy avocado pizza, which is definitely one of Sumosan’s must-tries — a combination of a crunchy base with avocado, brittle quinoa and sweet onion fries.

“For meat lovers, I highly recommend trying our rib-eye with garlic soy sauce and garlic chips, slow-cooked beef short ribs or Wagyu sando.

“As for seafood, the choice is limitless for every taste and desire at Sumosan. But my personal favourites are the wasabi prawns with golden mango, yellowtail with truffle yuzu vinaigrette and fresh truffle shaving, as well as creamy spicy king crab.”

Price point and contact information

Sumosan is on the pricier side, so expect to pay between Dh60 to Dh140 for starters, Dh95 to Dh460 for mains, Dh40 to Dh70 for sides, and between Dh55 and Dh80 for dessert. Sushi rolls start at Dh45 and go up to Dh140.

The restaurant is open from 6pm to 2am from Sundays to Thursdays, and 6pm to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays. Reservations can be made by contacting 04 388 4540.

This review was conducted at the invitation of the restaurant

Updated: March 23, 2023, 11:37 AM