It’s a truth universally acknowledged that restaurants located up high, with views sweeping over glittering cities just don’t try as hard. They don’t need to right, they’ve got the biggest USP of them all, views sweeping over as far as the eye can see – this is true whether you’re in London, New York or even my home town of Auckland, New Zealand where the revolving restaurant on top of the Sky Tower is always disappointing.
But still, we’re hurtling up in the super fast lift, it’s a rare clear and sunny lunchtime and it’s all pretty special. The bar area is a sweeping swathe of orange with jaw dropping views outside and the interior of the main restaurant is clean with more orange zing and a lattice grid with a vast volume of twinkling lights hanging from the ceiling.
The menu is extensive and we need a cocktail apiece (Nashi Martini for me!) to help us decide what we’re going to have. At one point, I’m considering giving up and just ordering one of everything but we’re probably going to need a lot more friends to help us through the feast that would arrive.
Finally we narrow it down, but it’s still going to be a heroic effort so with no further ado, may I present the first raw assortment of Tiraditos that arrives, presented ever so exquisitely. We have Yellowtail with Jalapeno and Lemongrasss, Turbot in the middle with brioche croutons, ponzu and truffle oil and finally the Kanpachi with yuzu and black truffle oil. Admittedly when I see this, I’m no longer worried about over-ordering, as this particular course is no more than a couple of delicious mouthful of morsels apiece.
I spoke too soon of course, all too quickly a proper cacophony of courses start flying out of the kitchen towards us, each more different, delicious and more beautiful than the last. The Wagyu tataki comes with grilled foie gras, a still runny quail’s egg, with a smokey fruity sauce oozing with umami. The trio of ceviche is fresh and light and each tastes very different to the other, the scallops are served with Mandarin, the tuna with balls of watermelon and crunchy wasabi peas and the mixed option with a sweet potato lemony finish. I’m not a huge fan of the wasabi peas lingering in my tuna ceviche and the whole combo is really a bit messy to eat in a civilised setting and not conducive to putting a lot of different elements on my plate. But distractions like this are swiftly forgotten with one bite of the scallop cooked with asparagus spears. They’re covered in a light crunchy coating and are at that perfect level of just-cooked.
There’s more yet to come and it’s the turn of the hot food to come streaming out, the black cod robata skewers are so melt in the mouth sticky, they’ve stopped resembling anything as light as fish and instead they’re like gooey sticks covered in a sweet miso sauce. The lamb chops are served pink on the inside with a hint of lime to bring out the flavour and the Wagyu that you cook yourself on hot stones is another dash of theatre to complement the view outside.
And the final course of Sasa shrimp tempura which the waiter is bringing around with more than a hint of alarm in his eyes is enough to push us over the edge. It was entirely unnecessary but perfectly executed and very different to the usual sushi rolls found, even in the best of places.
Bypassing dessert entirely, for of course there is no room in there whatsoever, we head out, stopping by at the orange tree out on the terrace for drinks and to watch London go by underneath. There’s no denying it, Sushi Samba does everything and more to deserve it’s place high above the London clouds.
Find the menu at Zomato
Sushi Samba can be found at Herons Tower, 110 Bishopsgate EC2N 4AY. You’ll definitely need a reservation, this is a popular place.