SushiSamba is located on the 38th floor of the Heron Tower that is near to Liverpool Street station. If you have seen my post about Duck and Waffle, then you will know that one highlight is the view from high up in the sky. But does SushiSamba provide that same WOW factor?
The restaurant is located below Duck and Waffle, but although it is still high the view when dining in the main restaurant is not as good. This will be due to the layout of the restaurant which has a terrace around the main dining area. Therefore, it obstruct the view when you are dining. It was the same on the west terrace where you could hardly see a view of the City of London.
If there was a good view from the west terrace, it would have made it a great area in the warm summer weather. This area look liked it could be used as a BBQ area and the tree in this area was gorgeous. It became more beautiful as the sun went down.
The only best view I found that evening was at the bar, where you can clearly see the Gherkin. It would not be surprising that this part of the restaurant is crowded with people, but I did managed to squeeze between the gaps of people enjoying their cocktails to get a glance of the view.
After the view let me get on to the food, and you will probably guessed that SushiSamba serves Japanese food. But with a twist by blending Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine. It sounds interesting but does it deliver a satisfying palette to CheCheMui?
The menu has been created for the intention of sharing and I love sharing! We ordered a few dishes from different section of the menu. From the small plates we started off with Kuromitsu Glazed Pork Belly wraps (£12). This consisted of pork belly served on lettuce and topped with palmito and orange bits.
As the pork belly was glazed and it came to our table luke warm, the meat was slightly hard. I actually preferred belly pork soft, but if glazed and intend to have a hard texture than it would had been better thinly sliced like Chinese beef/pork jerky.
The Wagyu Gyoza (£12) was served with kobocha purée (winter melon) with su-shoyu dipping sauce. I did like the combination of the kobacha puree with the gyoza.
The Market Vegetable Tempura (£8) is not your average Japanese tempura as it is sprinkled with spicy powder to give it a bit of kick. The dish came served with yuzu soy sauce which balanced out the kick.
The final dish we had from the small plate was the Yellowtail Taquitos (£12). Taquitos was filled with minced yellowtail and avocado. I found this to be a pleasant combination and a different way of eating taquitos.
As the name SushiSamba clearly tell us that Sushi is served at the restaurant. There is a range of basic choice of nigiri and sashimi to order. We ordered 3 kinds sashimi omakase (£22) which is 3 different types of sashimi that is selected by the chef. This was nothing special and I would not recommend on spending on this dish, as there are many other more unique items to order.
If you like your sushi, then I would recommend to try the range of samba rolls which is more unique. We selected two different samba rolls, and started with the El Topo (£11). This was sushi that consisted of thinly seared salmon that was covered with melted mozzarella and crispy onions. There is jalapeño to give it a fiery kick to the whole dish. I found that the combinations of all the ingredients worked well.
Our second samba roll was the Wagyu Te Amo (£13), which was rice covered with thinly seared wagyu beef. It was topped with sliced quail egg and topped with crispy sweet potato.
From the large plates we ordered the Moqueca Mista (£28) which is a Brazilian seafood stew. The dish consisted of mixed seafood (white fish, shrimp, squid and mussels) in a coconut milk sauce. This was served with chimichurri rice, which we were advised to best enjoy the dish is mix the rice in to the stew.
Although, we were advised to be careful of the stone pot, I actually thought it was not hot enough. The rice itself would have been more enjoyable if it was warmer. Overall this dish reminds me of Macua’s Portuguese dish which is made out of coconut milk and can contain seafood or chicken.
We did not try any robata dishes which is ingredients that is cooked on a charcoal grill. I best know this as yakitori and I thought to leave this to have at Bincho instead. If you have not heard of Bincho then it is a restaurant in London that specialise in serving yakitori.
We finished our meal sharing three desserts, and there is a variety to select including the tradition Japanese mochi. Instead of mochi, we went for something a bit more unique.
The Mango Mousse (£9) was made of sweet potato biscuits and had flavour of passion fruit. It was served with kiwi-mojito sorbet but it had more of a foam texture instead of sorbet. I actually find this dessert to be sour and not as I expected from a mango mousse. It did not give me that tropical flavour I was expecting.
The Yuzu Meringue ‘Tart’ (£12) was one beautiful artwork. The plate was scattered with lemon meringue and what looked like biscuits crumbs. It all lead to this magnificent yuzu cream sugar bulb. It was beautiful to see, but in terms of taste I found the citrus flavour strong for me. It was too sour for my taste buds.
Our final dessert that we tried was the Chocolate Banana Cake (£10). This was my favourite dessert on the table which was a moist chocolate banana cake. It was topped with a plantain chip that sat on a vanilla rum ice cream. Although the cake was sitting in thin coating of maple butter, the dessert was not that sweet.
To go with out dessert we ordered some warm drink which was needed on a cold weather that we are having in London at the moment, although it is Spring.
From the Jing tea, I ordered the whole chamomile flowers (£4.50) which was a disappointment. It was served as a light clear yellow water which was very light in flavour. There was no tea bag or flowers in sight. I was expecting to see whole chamomile flowers.
Also from the selection of Jing tea was the Matcha Supreme (£6), which you expect to be good flavoured green tea at such a price. We expected a green tea which is full of flavour. As with my whole chamomile flowers tea there was no trace of tea bag or green tea powder which can usually be found at the bottom of the cup. The green tea did not have that strong flavour you would expect from a Matcha Supreme. There was not much different to drinking plain water.
I actually did not have high expectation for SushiSamba having looked at the menu in advance of the dinner. But it was more disappointing that some thing as basic as tea could not be right, especially with an expensive price tag.
Although both Duck and Waffle and SushiSamba are actually by the same company, the outcome experience is different. Duck and Waffle definitely have the better food and view, and you will see my return. However, I am doubtful to be returning to SushiSamba, even if we had great service from an entertaining waiter.
Overall, SushiSamba did not compare to Duck and Waffle but it was still an enjoyable evening spending with friends, and getting a glimpse of the night view from the Heron Tower.