Beginners guide to sushi as Sumo Fresh, Wanstead opens its doors

Sumo fresh restaurant is a new sushi restaurant in Wanstead
Chef Philip with sushi

Sumo fresh restaurant is a new sushi restaurant in Wanstead Chef Philip with sushi - Credit: Archant

Having trouble telling your nigiri from your shashimi? Bemused, confused and feeling a bit suspicious of sushi?

Sumo fresh restaurant is a new sushi restaurant in Wanstead
Owner Adam at the bar

Sumo fresh restaurant is a new sushi restaurant in Wanstead Owner Adam at the bar - Credit: Archant

As Redbridge gets its first sushi restaurant the Ilford Recorder went on a mission to uncover what it is about little slivers of raw fish that is causing such a storm.

Sumo Fresh, High Road, Wanstead opened its doors on Thursday after months of ensuring the décor, atmosphere, and most importantly the food, were up to scratch.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary the first mention of sushi in an English book can be found in A Japanese Interior, written in 1893, which described it as a roll of cold rice with fish.

It is believed the intricate bites of sushi can be traced back to southeast Asia, which spread to China before arriving in Japan.

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The word sushi literally means sour-tasting and vinegar was added to the mix in the 1300s.

All this is second nature to owner Adam Russell, 30, who said he has always been passionate about sushi and ensuring that everything is just right.

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“People should not be scared of sushi,” he said. “We’ve got lots of staff on hand to help explain everything and we have noodles and soups, so there’s something for everyone even if you’re not a fish lover.”

The restaurant is housed in a Grade II listed building and features dating back to the 1700s are sprinkled in between more industrial fittings, not to mention the tiny conveyor belt transporting morsels around the restaurant.

He said he felt Wanstead was the right place for a sushi and cocktail bar as there was nothing similar around the area.

“We felt there was a place for it and a lot of people have asked for a sushi bar. It’s healthy and kids are now growing up on it,” Mr Russell said.

“It’s fresh and it’s easy to order. You don’t have to hang around too long or you can stay and dine.”

Depending on how adventurous you are feeling, he plans to open up sushi classes later in the year and a delivery option is already available on their website.

On the menu are maki, nigiri and sashimi, which are basically all variations on the theme of rice and fish.

Maki are made by taking a flat piece of seaweed and putting rice on top followed by fish or vegetables. This is all rolled up and cut into individual pieces. Nigiri are little rectangles of rice with a sliver of raw fish on top and lastly sashimi is just a little piece of raw fish.

If you like the tang of a bit of mustard, sushi has its own equivalent called wasabi which is made from a root which grows in Japan. It is more of a horseradish hot than chilli hot.

Thin slices of ginger are also often served on the side as a palate cleanser to be eaten between sushi bites.

So far it seems Mr Russells’ prediction of the popularity of sushi is right, with more than 200 people turning up for their opening night party.

“We got lots of positive feedback on Facebook and Twitter,” Mr Russell said. “They liked the atmosphere and it’s something completely different which has not been seen in the area. We thought we were up for the challenge.”

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