The first time I heard of SUSHISAMBA, I was studying abroad in Miami. As a student who worked weekends to afford nights out clubbing on South Beach and whose little luxuries usually consisted of an XL blue Slurpee or sushi at our on-campus food hall, the thought of booking a table at the luxurious American fusion restaurant was far from my mind. But fast forward almost a decade, and I'll take any excuse to treat myself. A weekend lunch date in the sky? Sign me up.
Spread across the 38th and 39th floors of the Heron Tower, SUSHISAMBA is a City institution. Like Duck & Waffle above, the restaurant’s biggest USP is its panoramic views of London landmarks from The Gherkin and St Paul’s to beyond. Taking the iconic elevator and making our way past the various terraces into a massive luxe dining room on a Saturday afternoon, we certainly felt the grandeur of it all. But would the food match up?
Combining East Asian and Latin America flavours, the menu spans Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian bites. From the small plates section, we kicked things off with a portion of crispy yellowtail taquitos (£18) - like a mini taco filled with chunks of fleshy fish, smeared in creamy avocado and finessed with a punchy miso sauce.
Simple but effective, plantain chips (£7) were a must, as well as the raw toro toradito (£19) which was beautifully presented and equally as easy on the palette. Topped with a slice of black truffle, wasabi pickle and pearls of yuzu caviar that exploded in the mouth, it was delicate yet citrusy and rounded all at the same time. Miso cod (£46) was delicious but arrived with an oddly paired polenta chip, though for half the price, the pork rib (£24) was sensational; upgraded by a spicy pineapple salsa and umami glaze.
Making our way through the small plates, robata, larger dishes and samba rolls, we waded through tangy purple tuna ceviche (£18), sweet soy eggplant (£11) and the signature samba roll (£19); all of which were nice, but not the best the kitchen can do. Elevating the lot, seabass miso skewers (£30) were so luscious that I still think about them now. Perfectly flamed and matched with a pile of chunky Peruvian corn, it’s one I’d order again and again.
Up until this point, we’d been sipping on Champagne (from £16 per glass), though we couldn’t resist a cocktail. There’s also a huge sake list and wines too, but the Coconut Matcha Sour (£15) was calling out to me. A creamy mix of coconut-washed Bombay Sapphire gin, coconut cream, ginger, lime, and egg white was short, frothy, and expertly balanced. My date’s Chucumber (£14) was just as fresh; almost like a daiquiri meets a mojito by way of Takara Yokaichi Imo shōchū, maraschino liqueur, plum sake, fresh cucumber and bitters. Accompanied by a spread of assorted mochi (£9), it was a gorgeous ending to our sky-high afternoon.
The DesignMyNight Digest
It's easy to see why SUSHISAMBA is such a big name across the world... the service, menu and stunning space make it easy to splash the cash here. While there were a few wow-factor dishes, I did expect some others to be much more elevated for this price point. Get the miso seabass skewers and thank me later.
💰 The damage: around £250 plus service between two.
📍 The location: Heron Tower, Liverpool Street.
👌 Perfect for: fusion food with a view.
⭐ Need to know: ask for a table by the window for those incredible sights as you eat.