08 August 2013

Dinner at Sushi Samba

Monday night i went to Sushi Samba for a friends birthday. He had been wanting to go there for a while and booked weeks in advance. Sushi Samba is located on the 38th floor of Heron Tower near Liverpool Street in London. It also has branches in New York, Miami, Chicago and Las Vegas. It describes its cuisine as a blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian.

View from Sushi Samba
Arriving at the roped off entrance we were asked if we had a reservation before being let in to take the glass elevator to the top - boy was it fast. Its not one for those who are afraid of heights, but if you don't mind them, a spectacular view across London awaits.

Bar at Sushi Samba

Despite our booking, there was a 20 minute wait before we were shown to our table, but the food was worth the wait! Also, the bar area was an interesting place to while away the time, quirky chandeliers hung from the ceiling, there were views out over the city and in an outdoor area a tree took centre stage, lit up bright and orange and a bit whimsical.

Whimsical tree in outdoor area

Once shown to our table our waiter introduced himself. Jimmy, was professional yet friendly, attentive and very knowledgeable. My friend suffers from a few allergies and Jimmy was able to tell him what the ingredients were for each dish and offer customisation so he could still have the dish he wanted. Not once did Jimmy make my friend feel like he was doing him a favour. Simply brilliant. That's what i call real service. Jimmy also offered us little riddles to entertain us while we waited for the next dish to be brought out, we were so engrossed in solving them, we forgot to enjoy the views!!

Riddle me this...moving only two sticks how do you get the card outside the "glass" - you have to keep the shape of the glass

We decided to share and ordered two small plates and one main. When the food arrived, it was simply delicious. We started with the Yellowtail Taquitoes with lemongrass, avocado, aji panca, lime. They were on the small side but they were an explosion of flavour, the fish succulent and all the flavours complementing each other. I could easily have had five and still asked for more!

The next dish was a sushi hand roll, the Sasa. It was shrimp tempura, shishito (a small Japanese pepper), coriander, spicy mayo and red onion. They used quinoa instead of rice. I'm not kidding, I had my doubts, but heck yes, it really worked and it was oh so good :)

Our main, the Churrasco Rio Grande was divine. Three different types of meat cooked to perfection served on hot stones that made them sizzle as they were being brought out. We had a set of accompaniments (Farofa, fresh tomato/onion/cucumber salsa, Chimmichurri and spinich) but the meat tasted just as good on its own. The wagyu picanha was delicate and soft, if the whole dish was just that, i would have been OK with it! The ribeye was subt but could handle some of the stronger sauces. We substituted the chorizo for skewers that packed a punch with their herbs and spices. There was so much meat we didn't think we'd get through it but we were determined ;)

For desert we shared the chocolate banana cake with maple butter, curled plantain chips decorating top, and rum ice cream on the side. It had a crunchy caramelised top like a creme brulee and you could see pieces of banana underneath, it wasn't too rich or heavy but was sweet and light enough to enjoy (and manage to fit in) after our big meal.

All in all, it was a good experience, the food and service was exactly what i would expect from such a place and we weren't disappointed. Sushi Samba isn't an every day place but if you are looking to go somewhere for that special occasion, you wont be disappointed. My only complaint (if you can call it that) was the lighting, it was atmospheric but it was horrid to take photos of food so these photos don't do the dishes justice.

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