Sunday, 29 July 2012

Restaurant Review: Sushi Samba

I am very lucky to have been invited to the preview weekend of SushiSamba in Heron Tower. Ever since watching Richard Wright and Samantha Jones in Sex and The City (Dirty Martini, Dirty Bastard) in Sushi Samba who doesn't want to go there? My first experience was in Vegas and I've been in love ever since.

The City of London architecture excites me greatly. I love that I can see the Gherkin from the top of my road. It feels like home when I see the Liverpool Street skyline so to be at the top of it - Sushi Samba, I salute you...
Atop the terrace of Sushi Samba on the 38th Floor
Without my head blocking the gorgeous Tower Bridge and Gherkin
On arrival we had signature cocktails on the terrace; She's So Fine being the standout here. It was delicious. The main attraction of course is the view though. We were lucky to be arriving in the gorgeous sunshine, dining right through sunset and leaving in the dark with views of the Gherkin, Olympic Stadium, Tower Bridge and many other London landmarks twinkling up at us.
Zooming in on the Bridge complete with Olympic Rings
The almost finished Shard Building to the South
Canary Wharf to the East
We had cocktails with the view...She's So Fine was the best
The food is a fusion of Japanese, Peruvian and Brazilian with different sections of the menu catering for each. The idea is to order lots of little plates for each section and share them. This works for me - one of my favourite styles of dining and completely eliminates entree envy...
The view from our table, and some smiley waiters
Sushi Samba Table Setting complete with Sake glass
The SushiSamba menu
The Sushi Samba menu is vast and the choice is amazing from the three different countries. We opted for sushi rolls of wagyu te amo, rock shrimp tempura, egg plant robata with mustard mayo and feijoada pastels which were dim sum shaped parcels of amazing-ness.
Wagyu Te Amo with sweet potato
I'm in Sushi Heaven
Egg plant Robata from the chargrill
Feijoada Pastels with beef shank, pork belly, chorizo and black bean puree
Rock Shrimp Tempura, a great big dish which was deceptively filling
The food arrives when it's ready and comes staggered. This was absolutely fine with us, I prefer to have one thing followed by another rather than too much choice going on. The meals actually arrived really quickly, so I have no doubt in my confidence that on opening the service will be amazing. There was a lot of staff around the place, which is reassuring of this.

After the cocktails on arrival we opted for a bottle of wine. The cocktail menu doesn't appear to be finished yet as the only physical thing available was the sake list which had two bottles of wine per section (champagne, red, white) to choose from. I think on full opening this will be much more extensive. Still a bottle of Laurent Perrier is only running at £59 which is incredibly reasonable, with a glass at £12.50.
Gherkin and Tower Bridge by night
Overlooking the restaurant from the bar above
Amazing lighting features
After dinner we went outside to take in the night time view. My camera doesn't cope as well with dark shots (or I can't cope with all the options, one or the other). After this we wanted to pop up to the other floor to see the lounge/bar area. The staff although at first a bit nervous are keen to carry your drinks for you when you make the transition. Not to blame them really...the perspex stairs were hard enough to navigate anyway (in a short dress...) so not having to carry my glass gave the added feel of va va voom. There was predictably no one in here - I mean the bar isn't actually open yet. But it was nice to see the different spaces.
The empty lounge on the 39th Floor
On finishing our drinks we were taken on a little tour including the upstairs restaurant Duck and Waffle (part of the same company). Up here the first thing that hits you is the smell. It smells amazing, serving seasonable British fayre. The view from up here is as amazing from upstairs as you can go right to the window which is a bit dizzying. 
No 'bar' between you and the drinks here, a consultative approach to drinking
Fresh seasonable food of Duck & Waffle

Duck & Waffle Restaurant
Who needs a table when you have this to look out onto?
The bar at Duck & Waffle
One thing I wouldn't normally mention? The Toilet facilities. In this case I can't NOT. Like a loo with a view? You've come to the right place...instead of a mirror behind the sinks there is just another window overlooking the Gherkin and Tower 42, which currently happens to be lit up all Olympic Style. It was just fantastic. Unfortunately the cubicles do not have a view...
Pretty nice so far...
St Paul's and NatWest Tower, loo view
People may wonder what you are doing for so long in the bathroom
We had an absolutely fantastic evening and I cannot wait to go back. On opening they have 4,000 bookings already so preparee to book in advance. The main terrace is in the sun until around 4pm so would be worth booking for lunch should we be experiencing any more sun this year. There is a second smaller terrace that gets the evening sun but when it isn't so strong. It can of course get a bit windy up there.

Atmosphere: 3/5 the music could be louder but that could have been because it was only soft opening
Food: 4/5 amazing cuisine, perfect sushi rolls. Too much choice!
Drink: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

See you in the elevator...
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