I love this place – so much that I’ve actually gone back multiple times. This is unusual for me given how many new places seem to open up each week and my desire to try out (and review!) each and every one of them. Yet there is something about SushiSamba that keeps calling me back. It’s not the deliciously spiced Tonka Bean Old Fashioned that is served on fire, the perfectly balanced fusion of Japanese, Peruvian, and Brazilian food, or the overall classy yet welcoming atmosphere. The biggest draw is the view – one of the few places in London you can enjoy the entire city spread out below you without having to pay a small fortune.
Overall, a great place to go for a bite and an even better one for a drink. Keep in mind that they tend to start a dress code in the evenings so make sure you are dressed a bit nice (think more West End than Shoreditch) and definitely book if you fancy a meal. It’s a bit pricey, but when you consider that you aren’t paying £25 to get above the city, it’s really not that bad.
Tucked into the side of the Heron Tower is a bar called the Drift. It’s a bit posh and usually filled with suits but a great place to grab a drink and wait for people to show up. Alternatively, there are plenty of pubs around Liverpool St Station so you shouldn’t have a problem.
What’s to eat?
There is a full mix of foods but all cleverly intertwined. We ate most of the menu but let’s focus on the highlights.
The Samba London roll is chaos in rice and seaweed and contains no less than crab, tuna, salmon, yellowtail, prawn, scallop, wagyu beef, avocado, tempura crunch, wasabi mayo, aji panca, with a in-house made soy reduction. Needless to say that’s a helluva lot of stuff to cram into one roll but it’s bloody fantastic. To be clear, it’s actually 4 types of roll so it’s not overwhelming and is a great pick to sample several different combinations for £15. The rest of the food we ordered (it all started to blur together – too many pre-lunch cocktails) but the absolute standout were the yellow tail taquitos. This dish was the epitome of Japanese/Peruvian fusion, and we almost didn’t order it.
We were absolutely stuffed from the day long eating marathon (SushiSamba was stop 3 and we had dinner planned shortly after), and the taquitos failed to appeal from the description. Our waiter insisted that we try them and refused to bring us the bill until we had. So we conceded and damn if that wasn’t the best life decision of the day. Tender minced yellow tail mixed with creamy avocado and lightly flavoured with lemon grass, aji panca (Peruvian red pepper), and lime piped into a crispy taquito shell. Great mix of crunchy and silky textures and flavours with the acid from the lime enhancing the sweetness of the yellow tail while keeping the rich avocado at bay. If you get nothing else but this, it will be a happy meal.
And for a drink?
The two storey bar is what first drew me to SushiSamba, or rather the three bars within that area. The top bar (39th floor) is pretty but has limited seating/standing space. However, it remains the best one if you want a cocktail. Beers and simple mixed drinks can be found at the bar on the 38th floor and champagne and wine seems to be the purview of the outside bar on the 38th. Since the Old Fashioned is my go to drink, I suggest ordering at the top bar, slowly walking down the staircase to enjoy the view out west, and then settling down near the fire outside to enjoy your drink.
From the restaurant, the terrace has the best views as you can get right up to the glass wall railing which is flush against the side of the building. Not a good idea if you suffer from vertigo, but what a thrill to look down hundreds of meters while sipping a drink. The bar staff are on the ball and will find you to deliver your drink order no matter where you wander to.
Worth the dosh?
It’s pricey (a long boozy lunch for two came to about £150), but worth it for a special treat. The food quality is excellent and some of the best Japanese and Peruvian concepts I’ve seen executed in London. The drinks are also top notch and are deceptively smooth which hides their strength. And lounging around on the terrace on a warm sunny day is an experience that is near priceless.
Find SushiSamba here
London, EC2N 4AY
+44 (0)203 640 7330