Sunday, April 28, 2013

SumoSam: 26th Branch Opens at SM Manila

If you've been a reader for a while, you've probably known of my serious infatuation with Japanese cuisine. Whether it's authentic Japanese, Japanese-Western fusion, or localized Japanese fare, I'll always be game to try it out. So when I was invited for a tasting at one of SumoSam's newest branches, I just had to give in and say yes.
SumoSam SM Manila

Last March, along with a group of bloggers, as well as one of SumoSam's owners -- celebrity chef and Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year 2012 awardee Marvin Agustin, I dined at the 26th branch of SumoSam which is conveniently located in SM Manila's 4th floor, and just a few steps (or rather, tumbling) away from the cinemas.

For some history and background, SumoSam was started by Marvin Agustin along with fellow young entrepreneurs Raymund Magdaluyo and Ricky Laudico way back in 2005. Their first branch was in Shangri-la Plaza, and until now, their brand is still growing.

Salmon Sashimi P229

The first item on our table was this serving of Salmon Sashimi (P229). While I know a lot of people who veer away from eating raw slices of fish, I'm one of those who actually prefers raw fish than cooked ones. And being a salmon sashimi lover, I didn't waste any time and enjoyed my share. Thanks too to my seatmates for giving me the extra slices!

California Roll P218

Next, we had the Pinoy-favorite California Roll (P218), a makizushi with kani slices, mangoes and cucumbers rolled in nori and roe-covered sushi rice, then drizzled with Japanese mayo. Although California rolls aren't really my thing, I found it okay especially since it had lettuce which gave it an added texture. Love the extra kani shreds too.

Las Vegas Roll P248

We also had the Las Vegas Roll (P248) which has almost the same fillings as the California ones but comes rolled in nori and aonori-ko and chili powder-covered sushi rice, then topped with dried scallops and semi-melted cheese. Compared to the California rolls, I think I like this better. I wish it came spicier though for that extra kick.

Dynamite Roll P278

Among the makizushi, I like the Dynamite Roll (P278) best. It's a plate of spicy salmon sashimi roll topped with crispy salmon skin and chili powder, then drenched in a spicy dressing and served with a sweet and savory nikihana sauce (inspired by Chef Nikki Nicolas). This roll successfully whetted my palate and left me craving for more.

Bacon Dory P279

We also got to try the Bacon Dory (P279) which is a serving of dory fish fillets wrapped in bacon, then grilled and served with teriyaki sauce. Although I still love my bacon-wrapped enoki mushrooms, I have to admit that these babies are quite good. They were cooked nicely and were flavorful as expected from a bacon and teriyaki sauce combo.

SumoSam’s Pride Salad P399

To further whet the appetite, we had SumoSam’s Pride Salad (P399) -- an ensemble of lettuce, tomatoes, grilled prawns, mango slices and walnuts in SumoSam's house dressing. As a salad eater, I actually liked this serving. The medley of fresh, sweet and savory flavors is perfect for the hot summer season. I guess my only qualm is the price.

Spicy Tuna Salad P268

We also had the Spicy Tuna Salad (P268) -- a bowl of 3 kinds of lettuce leaves and fresh tuna slices with spicy dressing, then topped with tenkasu (tempura bits). Although I'm not big on spicy tuna sashimi, I liked this salad a lot. The spicy tuna was very appetizing, and the tenkasu gave off an enjoyable crunch. This is more fairly-priced too.

Ebi Tempura P398

Since we've already tapped the tenkasu, let's move on to the Ebi Tempura (P398) which is the default crowd-pleaser. As expected, the tempura batter was crispy, while the prawns were cooked nicely. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed dipping their share in the tempura sauce and savoring bite after bite. Again, my only qualm is the price tag.

Japanese Fried Rice P278

For some carbs, we had the Japanese Fried Rice (P278) with assorted meat and seafood. I find this serving okay taste-wise, but feel like this is expensive portion-wise.

Chicken Teriyaki P268

We had a serving of Chicken Teriyaki (P268) for our entrée which I surprisingly liked. More often than not, I avoid chicken teriyaki dishes as I'm not much of a sweet sauce fan. However, this order had a nice balance of sweet and savory which also went really well with our Japanese fried rice. The chicken fillet itself was very tender and succulent too.

Beef Teppan P378

We also had an order of Beef Teppan (P378) which had sautéed beef tenderloin pieces served with mixed vegetables and comes with 3 kinds of sauces (which I forgot to take note of). I liked how savory and tender the beef pieces were despite being lean cuts. And even without any sauce, I enjoyed just eating the beef with some veggies. However, for the price, it would be better if there were more beef tenderloin pieces to savor.

SumoSam Ice Popsicles P88 Black Sesame Ice Pops

After the hearty meal, we enjoyed some SumoSam Ice Popsicles (P88) which come in 5 different flavors -- Black Sesame, Choco Banana, Green Tea, Pistachio and Red Bean. I wanted to try the red bean flavor, but since it wasn't available that day, I settled for the next unusual variant, the black sesame. I enjoyed this refreshing treat since it wasn't too sweet nor too creamy, and really had the black sesame taste to it.


I enjoyed my visit to SumoSam's 26th branch. However, I have mixed feelings for the brand. While I liked a few items among the dishes we got to try, I found some of them pretty expensive for either their portion size or for what they are. Nevertheless though, I think it'll all boil down to value and preference from a customer's viewpoint. But putting that aside, I liked the laid back yet comfortable ambiance at SumoSam's SM Manila branch. The servers were courteous and alert too even before Marvin Agustin came in.

Taste - 3.5/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3.5/5
Overall Value - 3.5/5

SumoSam, SM City Manila
4/F SM City Manila, Concepcion cor. Arroceros
Ermita, Manila, Philippines
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  1. hmmmnn... haveto admit, i have nottried dining here... 2im not into japanese eh... 6 branches na pala...

    1. Yup! Actually, I was surprised din na 26 branches na pala and counting ang SumoSam :)

  2. Never tried to eat in Sumo Sam's and i think its time to give my verdict as well after I visit their place on my vacation in manila in 2 months time . I love the presentation of the bacon dory . I hope it taste better that it looks .

    1. The bacon dory is actually quite good. Anyway, I'd love to read your verdict when you get to try SumoSam on your Manila visit :)

  3. I have always seen Sumo Sam in Lucky Chinatown Mall but prices turn me off because they are too expensive for my budget. Anyway, I will have to try this soon anyway out of curiosity. :)

  4. I've only been to their Shangrila branch and really I can tell theirs is so pricey, no more visit after that one ha!ha! The bacon dory looks tempting anyway and I would like to try that one next time.

  5. I've also dined at Sumo Sam. I agree that the prices are too expensive but believe me, it's worth the price you pay. You've got to try their Beef Ramen, it's a big winner to me! :D

    Oh, and if you have a chance to visit Davao, visit The Legacy of SumoSam in SM Lanang Premier. They have exclusive dishes that are served in their branch.

    1. I tried SumoSam's ramen before, but I really didn't feel like their price is proportional to the quality. Although SumoSam serves okay to good Japanese food, I feel like there are Japanese restaurants serving authentic fare at almost the same prices (of some, not all, of SumoSam's dishes). SumoSam is good though especially for Pinoys who are still starting to appreciate Japanese cuisine since the flavors have a touch of Filipino :)

  6. Haven't been to SumoSam. Hope they still have the sushi-all-you-can. :)

  7. Nakakgutom! Marvin Agustin has indeed built a chain of outstanding restaurants! =)

  8. Been to sumosam several times already. I love their selections in their menu. And I also agree with your rating on their price.. Quite pricey for every week dining experience with them, maybe once a month is okay.

  9. Have tried this before, was really good. Marvin Agustin was actually our family friend that's why we got discounts at SumoSam.

  10. Same with me, my favorite maki at Sumosam is the Dynamite Roll. Nothing beats the spicy salmon sprinkled with crispy salmon skin!

  11. I love how you covered everything! Now I'm craving for some Japanese :) I'm surprised that you're not fond of Spicy Tuna Salad. I love them!

  12. Sumosam look so yummy! I wanna taste it!

  13. Wow!!! That was so yummy... It's mouth-watering cuisines...

  14. Wow! The photos look really good. The food looks delicious too. I ended up salivating on all the dishes. I and hubby, will definitely visit Sumo Sam!

  15. sumosam is indeed one of my fave japansese resto! super love ko maki nila! and wow grabe dami na nilang branches :D

  16. hope to eat at sumosam someday! i wanna try their delicious food!

  17. Dine at Gateway Mall with my family we love the food.

  18. I;m not into Japanese food but after I read this. maybe it will worth a try! *drooling

  19. So Marvin started the place. Cool! But I've never tried it. But maybe one of these days I will. :)

  20. Yes, now that sumo sam has open a branch near us my family can now try their food

  21. I've always liked Sumo Sam--well, Japanese cusine for that matter and especially the ones that serve spicy tuna salad. Sarap!

    Wow they're expanding. Great to hear! But I don't think I'll be going to SM Manila anytime soon but it's nice to hear that if mapadpad man ako dun, there are good places to dine in.

  22. looks delicious, hope to try that

  23. Haven't been here because I have an allergy to sea foods. But might as well see their menu if there are foods I can take a bite with :) Great review!

  24. I hope SumoSam can come closer. Marikina/Cainta area pls

  25. Had a chance to try SumoSam, quite pricey but the food is worth it! Hope to visit again soon.

  26. i would like to try this very soon,the Ebi Tempura,looks crispy and yummy

  27. nice review and verdict. very informative.. the food looks good.. :)


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