It’s not often that #TeamCoco stumble upon a completely unique dining concept, let alone one that also offers revelling right into the early hours. However, just past Chanel in the lavish Knightsbridge district, you’ll find just that, in a very luxurious setting. Sumosan Twiga is the brainchild of restaurateur Janina Wolkow and business mogul Flavio Briatore who is renowned for his Billionaire’s Club. It’s a glorious mix of indulgent dining, partying to rival Monaco and Italian service to die for. We sent our resident food & travel writer, Jenna, to check out London’s hottest conception.
“Hopping off the Tube at Knightsbridge station, the city was already buzzing. It was early on a Friday evening and we had arrived in the capital for a night of cocktails and distinctive dining with Sumosan Twiga. Arriving at the restaurant, you’d be forgiven for taking it at face value as traditionally Japanese. The interiors are sumptuous and the welcome is warm, aside from the unique frontage. The name to me, sounded far eastern, but once we got chatting to our contact, it all made sense.
Way back in 2002, the original Sumosan opened on the esteemed Albermale Street in Mayfair and fast established itself as a go-to for inspiring Japanese cuisine. Not only that, but Wolkow’s direction turned it into the place to go in Mayfair for not only great food, but a vibrant social scene. Now, enter Twiga. Business mogul Flavio Briatore, who you will have definitely seen on Instagram, was a regular at Wolkow’s Mayfair spot and they soon connected over a common passion. Keen to introduce a Japanese product to Monaco and his Billionaire Lifestyle Group, Briatore invited Wolkow to his restaurant Twiga and whilst looking out over the bay of Monte Carlo, a business decision was made to introduce a Wolkow Sumosan pop-up at Twiga. With instant success, the Sumosan pop-up became permanent with the launch of ‘Twiga Sumosan’. With the success of the unique pairing at Twiga Sumosan in Monaco, Briatore and Wolkow were excited to introduce the concept to London, enabling diners to enjoy exceptional cuisine from two continents under one very sexy roof.
Again, you may even be mistaken for thinking Sumosan Twiga is another fusion restaurant, but it is unapologetically not. What you have at Sumosan Twiga is two completely juxtaposed menus that are not designed to directly complement each other, but to challenge and excite. One half is homegrown Italian and the other half is traditional Japanese, which is a daring yet refreshing combination. The simplest way I can explain it is, you can literally have Wasabi prawns as a starter and homemade ricotta & spinach ravioli as your entrée. Two completely different cuisines, tied together by exceptional cooking and faultless service. The food has a certain Japanese precision and simplicity about it, where the service is inimitable Italian hospitality.
However, before you delve into the eclectic food offering, you have to try the drinks. Settling down at the immaculate bar on the second floor, we browsed through the menu whilst asking for recommendations from their classically trained Bartenders. Their menu is varied and includes an enormous variety of Sake, which is a must try if you’re looking for an Aperitif with a twist. However, as I’m a gin lover and my dinner partner is a firm believer in the classics, we were steered towards some of the simpler serves.
After sipping on our cocktails and getting to know the history behind the venue, we made our way down the unique staircase adorned with African sculptures and Italian artwork to the first floor restaurant. What’s great about Sumosan Twiga is that contiuity and the ‘norm’ of other venues, really doesn’t apply to them. It’s in no way a traditional restauraunt set up, but the service completely hits the spot. Sitting down at a comfortable table, the experience began straight away. Our contact at the restaurant had encouraged us to try it all, and to not be afraid of mixing the two cuisines – so we did exactly that. Our waiter Fabrizio, was exactly what you’d expect from a seasoned Italian waiter. He was courteous, he was knowledgeable and he had a cheeky twinkle in his eye that made it impossible to say no to an extra glass of Prosecco.
Never one to be shy of a little spice, I ordered Wasabi prawns with mango & golden passion fruit salsa and the J’ Secret Mixed Sashimi for good measure. I am not even lying when I tell you that I am almost salivating at the thought of these dishes. I’ve eaten Japanese all over the world, including Mizumi in Las Vegas, and this was the freshest Sashimi I’ve ever tried. The Wasabi prawns had a creaminess to them that kept us coming back for more and our appetite was definitely engaged by the time our Sushi arrived.
Of course, it would have been completely rude not to order the Billionaire Rolls whilst in Flavio Briatore’s house, so we dived right in. Adorned with Truffle and filled with raw Wagyu Beef, it was the sheer indulgence that you’d expect from something so opulently named. Next to this was my good old favourite, Prawn Tempura Rolls that had the warm crunchy centre that is sure to get even the most discerning diners going. Perhaps quite literally, as Prawns are known as a natural aphrodisiac, which goes hand in hand with the sensual surroundings of Sumosan Twiga. As the Prosecco flowed and the restaurant began to fill up with London’s most beautiful residents, we took a little bit of a risk. Yes we knew that the Italian service was amazing, but would the food live up to its hype? Ordering the Veal chop “alla Milanese” and homemade strozzapreti with lamb ragout, we leapt into what was set to be the ultimate in carb loading. Dear Cath, my Personal Trainer, please look away now.
What I totally forgot when I ordered the Veal, was that “alla Milanese” basically means made into an Escalope and deep-fried for crispness. When the waiters arrived with our mains, we realised in our haste we had literally ordered breaded Veal and a whole ton of creamy homemade pasta. After two Sushi rolls and protein-rich starters, this wasn’t going to be easy. The Veal was tender with a deliciously seasoned coating whilst the strozzapreti with lamb ragout was rich and satisfying. However, it’s safe to say that after the mains, we really needed our arms twisting for a dessert. My tip would be to order at Sumosan Twiga as you would a Tapas bar, get a little bit of everything and nibble the night away over a bottle of fizz. If you try to eat traditionally here, your eyes will definitely be bigger than your belly.
After a very lengthy Hiatus and another bottle of Prosecco, the lovely Fabrizio finally managed to seduce us into dessert. Settling on classic Tiramisu and mixed fresh fruit with a decadent white chocolate dipping sauce, two Restrettos were also completely necessary. The Tiramisu was velvety smooth and the addition of chocolate micro-spheres gave crunch as a welcome addition. As for the simplicity but brilliant execution of the mixed fruit (served in a pineapple) with white chocolate ganache, I would love to sit on an Italian beach with somebody attractive feeding that to me. Absolutely divine.
Saying our goodbyes and thanking the team for their brilliant hospitality, we moved back to level two to see how the once quiet bar had metamorphosed into a lively cosmopolitan atmosphere. The bar was busy with the bartenders flaring with pods of well-dressed city slickers filling the space. We unfortunately had to rush away to a hotel review afterwards, but not before one last loving gaze at this wonderful venue. Venturing downstairs, the restaurant’s underground lounge is definitely one to see. Inspired by the Twiga Late Night Lounge born in Monaco, the London lounge, an intimate space designed with references to Briatore’s love affair with Africa, regularly hosts bespoke events as part of its private events’ schedule which is full of big name DJ’s and uber chic live music.
Sumosan Twiga really does offer you the opportunity to eat like an Emperor and party like a Billionaire in an undeniably central London location. If you can’t make it to Briatore’s famous mansion parties this Summer, and your air miles won’t stretch to Japan, you’ve got to check this place out.”
Open Monday to Sunday
06:30pm to 02:00am
Address : Sumosan Twiga, 165 Sloane Street, London, SW1X 9QB
Phone : +44 203 096 0222
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org