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I dined at the Sumac Restaurant last night. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience so you mustn't let anything I write here put you off. This is a lively restaurant with a good menu and clearly popular with quite a large number of people.
First of all let's consider the decor. I walk past this restaurant at least once a week and I watched for many months as the refurbishment took place . I was surprised by how long it took. A lot of trouble went into getting it just the way it is today. But it's as though a nightmare interior decor company, run perhaps by David Brent and Hyacinth Bucket has set out with the express intention of ignoring every wise word about neutrality and good taste that Sarah Beeny has ever said. The whole of the interior is finished with mock stone cladding. Each section of wall has a 3D bas relief picture of some world landmark. The Eiffel Tower is readily recognisable, as is a very elongated Tower Bridge. There is a Roman amphitheatre and a Greek temple. Just by the door is a couple holding hands disappearing into the distance. On the back wall is a fantastical cascade of rock pools.
The tables are small and set out in long uniform rows, quite close together, as in a refectory. But the whole place is totally buzzing with energy. Behind the plate glass counter a team of 6 or so chefs are busy preparing food on a huge grill, the salads laid out between them and us. There is a waiting staff about 6 people. Behind the swing door in the back room is another team of about 6 slopping out and washing up. So if it's a lively, energetic, bright, busy place you're looking for then this restaurant is ideal.
First off, and almost immediately we got a complimentary salad and flat bread. In all truth, what with my calorie controlled adipose tissue, I could have left it at that! I had a glass of the house red, which was everything you might expect. My companion had the sea bass which was very pleasing and she was completely happy with it. I had Tavuk Beyti (Turkish dish consisting of ground chicken, grilled on a skewer and served wrapped in lavash and topped with tomato sauce and yogurt) beautifully presented on a plate laid out in a symmetrical pattern around a ball of rice . Tasty, attractive and filling.
Is this a romantic spot for dining a deux - no. Is it a gourmet restaurant for fine dining - no. Is it a kebab shop where you get a seat and waiter service - yes.
Will I go back again - probably - especially if I'm hungry.