When you step inside the panoramic glass elevators that whisk you from street level up to the 39th floor of London’s Heron Tower you can’t help feeling a bit like Charlie Bucket travelling to the chocolate factory. However I think that even Willy Wonka would have been hard pressed to conjure up a feast as exquisite as the one that I was lucky to partake in at Sushisamba.
We started off with some cocktails whilst we enjoyed the evening sun and the spectacular views of the city. Even though it was a Sunday night, the bar and restaurant was full and we imbibed the great vibe that this restaurant is rightly lauded for. The leaves of the sculpted orange tree glistened in the light and created a wonderful glow.
Our gracious host Manoj and executive chef Claudio Cardoso created a bespoke tasting menu that paid tribute to the revered Japanese Kobe beef. This was blended with a selection of dishes that are available on the a la carte menu.
We started with crispy taquitos brimming with filling: Kobe flavoured with shichimi mayo and yellowtail with roasted corn miso. The Kobe Tiradito (ceviche) was adorned with bonbons made from foie gras and freeze dried raspberries that melted in your mouth releasing a glorious burst of fruit to complement the rest of the dish. To accompany this we drank elegant Masumi Yumedono “Mansion of Dreams” sake that had notes of peach, melon and strawberry.
From the raw bar we sampled yellowtail tiradito with jalopeno that gave the fish a nice kick and scallops with a mandarin sauce. From raw to robata, I particularly liked the black cod sweetened with yuzu, asparagus that was suitably al dente and silky aubergine with mustard miso.
As if the culinary treats were not enough, the sky turned a pinky orange as we were rewarded with a sunset. The suspended lights from the ceiling combined with the twinkling of lights across the city gave the restaurant a more intimate feel.
Then for the piece de la resistance – the noble cuts of Kobe with its distinctive shimofuri (marbling) were displayed and the sake was switched to a Sakura Kobe with a greater acidity to cut through the fattiness of the beef.
Our epicurean feast continued with Kobe Ishiyaki where the meat was presented with a hot stone in order for you to cook (or not) the meat however you wanted it. It came with a selection of dipping sauces that hardly seemed necessary given the wonderful flavour and texture of the beef. Delicious Japanese mushrooms were served in a heated Tobanyaki ceramic bowl jauntily topped with a poached egg and chips of garlic.
Just when we thought we couldn’t eat another morsel, platters groaning with samba rolls arrived – this could have been a meal in itself! There was a profusion of the freshest crab, tuna, salmon, scallops, prawn and white fish that was such a treat with eye watering wasabi and piquant ginger.
Chef Cardoso came to speak to us and I asked him where he got his inspiration from. South African born, he has lived in Portugal, Indonesia and Morocco and said that he is a global citizen and is inspired by “everything and everywhere!” The attentive General Manager, David Seccombe ensured that service was slick throughout the evening.
Finally it was time for dessert and we delighted in the chocolate and banana macaroons spiked with red chocolate chilli and bite size passion fruit cake with green tea and white chocolate ganache. A perfect way to end a perfect meal and like Charlie, I certainly felt like I had won a golden ticket.
I would recommend Sushisamba for a special occasion, a romantic dinner or a glamorous night out with your friends. The views, cocktails, music and not to mention the food makes this a winning combination.
110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY
0203 640 7330
Nuzy Sayani is Catwalkschoolgates’ restaurant reviewer. Nuzy lives in Marylebone with her husband and seven year old son. She is a technology lawyer and loves the theatre, cinema, is an avid reader and likes nothing more than trying out restaurants. Nuzy will be sharing her dining experiences with us and would love to hear from you with your recommendations.