What's the draw
London is by no means short of sushi restaurants, especially at the top end – Netflix-worthy temples to sushi and sashimi including The Araki and Endo at the Rotunda will keep you in a chair, marvelling at the quality and precision on display as you make your way through the omakase menu. But that doesn't mean more casual offerings don't have their place, and the latter's new sibling is just that: set up by Endo Kazutoshi and presided over by head chef Yasuda Akinori, it benefits from a Michelin-starred supply chain but introduces fun and upbeat dishes in a breezy room in Portobello.
What to drink
We were there for a lunch, so we kept things tight: first, a bone-dry and refreshing Sapporo lager that was welcome after walking in off the sunny street; and, more excitingly, a glass of sake from the extensive list – the Okuden Kantsukuri Junmai from brewer Masumi, which was all white flowers and with the requisite oily mouthfeel and rambunctious umami to keep pace with the whole menu, from vibrant sushi to wagyu beef. House and classic cocktails, plus a decent wine list, should see you right whatever your preference.
What to eat
The restaurant specialises in temaki, hand-rolled sushi served with sushi rice in a sheet or nori seaweed, and there's plenty to be had here, with the highlight, akami – diced bright red tuna in wasabi and soy – a beautiful indulgent parcel whose freshness and bite keeps it from being too filling.
A kushikatsu (tempura-fried) fillet of beef is instantly moreish, while there's no clue as to the star of the show – a striploin of wagyu, marbled to perfection, characteristically butter soft, enlivened by an onion and ponzu sauce that's almost more consommé than jus, keeping some much-needed lightness along with its umami. Dessert, too, is no afterthought: multi-layered matcha mille crèpe with unctuous crème patissière, and ice cream of roasted soybean flowers and a rum reduction with tiramisu-like complexity and balance. We were in and out in a breezy hour and a half, underlining the value of Sumi as a date spot or working lunch as much as a blowout.
Temaki from £8, sake from £8 by the glass. 157 Westbourne Grove, W11 2RS; sushisumi.com