Thursday, 7 August 2014

If there's one venue in London that's been hit by the hype machine, it's Sushisamba. Seats have never been such hot property than at this fusion restaurant nestled near the top of Heron Tower. Downstairs to its decidedly tame buddy Duck & Waffle, Sushisamba lets its hair down in a tumble of bamboo and hanging light globes. If you're confused by the name, you're not alone. Describing itself as blending Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian influences I see this going only one of two ways: to soaring heights or a crushing low. And so the bar is set, and it's about 39 storeys high.

Yellowtail Sashimi Tiradito with lemongrass and jalapeƱo. The yellowtail was a bit on the fishy side for me i.e. could be fresher (shame!). The dipping sauce gave a nice spicy kick however

The Sushisamba name has officially gone global with venues also in Miami beach (well, duh) and Vegas. As you stroll casually into this vast space, you feel like you're at a nightclub in broad daylight...Ou est le dancefloor? CetraRuddy who took charge of the interior design really went to town with a restaurant floor bordering on the excess. I do appreciate the leather 'luggage strap' seats, they look great (and are really comfy). This is a restaurant designed for A-listers and Ibiza-type party people, and I notice the lounge area perfectly positioned for people watching. As for me? I'm hoping there's a bit of substance amongst all this style. I just want some decent nosh (it's all I ask for)!

If it's wow factor they were going for, they have it in spades. The rather dramatic bamboo and light feature sets the scene for a different kind of dining experience... Source: Pure Consult

One glance at the menu and you know it's not for the faint hearted, not only for the unusual flavour combinations but also the prices. Prepare to do some serious damageIf you fancy trying the ishi yaki (grilled) wagyu it'll only set you back a tidy 49 pounds ;) And the serves are not big here, let me tell you. If there's one thing that I will give credit for, it's concept. All those preconceived ideas about food in London being dull and lifeless are about to come crashing down.

Crispy taquitos: wagyu, avocado and shichimi mayonnaise. These were a standout of the meal for me. Delicioso! The combination of wagyu and avocado were divine. This was the perfect dish with a generous squeeze of lime. Must. Try.

Tuna seviche with pomegranate leche de tigre (say what?), maiz morado (translation?), wasabi peas and basil. I thought this dish looked stunning when it came out, like edible artwork. Although the foam was rendered a bit superfluous once it disappeared. After a while the flavours in the seviche sort of amalgamated together, so it ends up all tasting the same with an overwhelming, vinegary aftertaste - am I painting a picture here?

Ezo samba roll: soy marinated salmon, asparagus, onion, chive, sesame, tempura crunch, soy paper and wasabi mayo. Who needs nori when you've got soy paper? This was quite an interesting element. I could happily have eaten this roll with raw salmon (instead of seared). A bit more mayo would have been ideal

Pork ribs, BBQ miso, pickled yuzu apple. What can I say, you can't go wrong with meat that pulls of the bone like this did and a bit of stickiness from the glaze that coats the fingers...yes.

Teriyaki poussin, japanese-style mayonnaise, yuzu kosho. Poussin is basically a fancy name for a young chicken. The salty soy hit from the teriyaki sauce went beautifully well with the mayonnaise (which was itself a high point). A good effort, and the meat was well cooked

The Brazilian-Peruvian-Japanese fusion thing is admirably conceived and executed. As if going through some sort of identity crisis, the only similarity I can see between those cuisines is the use of raw fish (i.e. sashimi and ceviche). It still remains a little on the weird side and 'niche' for me, but I have to applaud the effort of it all. The plating for one is some of the best I've seen; full of vibrancy and delicate touches. Perhaps this has come at the expense of developing flavour. The more traditional Japanese dishes, the sushi and sashimi were nothing to write home about sadly. But look, it's difficult to criticise this emerging empire which is doing so fantastically well i.e. book well ahead. As a unique dining 'experience' Sushisamba certainly gets top marks; just be wary of becoming a victim of the hype.

My rather amateur photog effort - I'm blaming the equipment here! Haha

Thanks for reading!
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