Scores: 1 GFG / Z 21/ H 4
We were looking for a place with a view and a good bar plus decent food and ended up in Sushi Samba in the Heron Tower for the first time. SUSHISAMBA has 4 US locations and I had been to the Vegas branch once several years ago. To be honest, my expectations were not particularly high for the food but the atmosphere and location meant that I knew we would enjoy ourselves nevertheless.
The view from the restaurant is very good (although not as good as the one from Hutong) and the décor and bars are very cool. It is a pity that the weather was not the best on the day we visited so we did not utilise the outside area much. The service was similar to that from the Vegas location (I am surprised I even remember the service there!) being friendly but a perhaps a little forceful in trying to steer you towards ordering some dishes.
We ordered quite a lot of food and the quality varied a good bit. From the small plates: tuna tataki with fresh heart of palm, avocado and citrus soy (£12.50) was pretty good having well balanced flavours. Wagyu gyozas with kabocha purée, sesame and su-shoyu dipping sauce (£12.00) were good with the sweet squash adding something to the beef. On the other hand rock shrimp tempura with snap pea julienne, spicy mayonnaise and black truffle vinaigrette (£13.00) was very average, the batter being too thick. Yellowtail taquitos with avocado and roasted corn miso (£12.00 for two) were quite nice overall and the filling was not overwhelmed by the wrapper.
An assortment of tiraditos (£21.00) contained kanpachi with yuzu, black truffle oil and sea salt (£14.00),where the amberjack was lacking taste. Yellowtail jalapeño and lemongrass (£12.00) was probably the best one overall as both the fish and dressing were decent. Turbot with brioche, ponzu, sea water caviar and truffle oil (£13.00) had a lovely dressing but the fish was slightly lost.
A platter of meat ‘churrasco rio grande’ consisted up some ribeye, chorizo and wagyu picanha (£42.00) served on hot stones. All of these were cooked very well and all of the meat had very good flavour. Although this was expensive there was a reasonable amount of meat. Asparagus sweet soy and sesame (£8.50) that had been cooked on a robata was almost identical in preparation to one I had eaten in Roka less than a week before. However, in this case it was totally overcooked and was barely edible.
Large rolls are one of their signature items and the waiter was keen for us to try them. ‘Samba London’ rolls (£16.00) had one piece each of a crab, tuna, salmon, yellowtail, prawn and scallop, some of these were fine. ‘Neo Tokyo’ rolls comprised tuna, tempura crunch and aji panca (£12.00) and were pretty nice. The ‘El Topo’ salmon, jalapeño, shiso leaf, fresh melted mozzarella and crispy onion (£11.00) was pretty ropey looking on the menu but we were assured that it was good; well it was in no way to my taste!
Overall this was a good experience, the food was perhaps better than I thought but there were a couple of basic errors. Also I would suggest that you order what you like the look of, rather than listening to closely to the waiting staff, as some of the recommended items may not be the best.