Despite having lunch a few years ago at Sushisamba in Miami, which I enjoyed, I had yet to try the Heron Tower branch in London! So when my friend Fee and I were planning my birthday lunch – and I saw the weather was going to be good – I opted for Sushisamba.
Located just a short walk from Liverpool Street station, Sushisamba is located on the 39th floor of Heron Tower – so expect amazing views! Also, the ride up in the glass lift is pretty fun.
You may recognise the building and the views, as the famous Duck and Waffle is the floor above. Funny story about Duck and Waffle… a lovely former client took me a few years ago for breakfast for my birthday but London had a thick fog for days and we could barely see anything. Food was great though!
Back to Sushisamba…
The setting and decor
The decor is very vibrant with orange a predominant colour throughout. It’s definitely more tasteful than tacky though! The ceilings are very high, meaning the glass windows surrounding the restaurant offer spectacular views over the city. I can’t imagine what a pain it is to clean them…
Obviously the tables by the windows offer the best views, but every table has a great view regardless.
There’s an indoor bar as well as tables and a sushi counter where people can eat if they prefer – or if they couldn’t get a restaurant booking. Depending where you’re seated, there’s not much of a view though.
They also have an outdoor bar with a fairly large seating area. I can imagine in summer it must be packed and it’s also a great place to have a drink if your table isn’t quite ready. Weirdly the views from here aren’t actually as nice as the ones from the restaurant itself as there’s some sort of obstruction. But there’s the orange leaf tree for all those Instagram shots! And there are loads of fairy lights so can imagine it’s pretty magical in the evening.
There’s also another fabulous photo op when you descend the stairs down to the indoor bar. Stop on the stairs to get a great shot of the iconic Gherkin! You may have to wait your turn though…
We went for lunch and, whilst it was pretty busy, it wasn’t very noisy. Perhaps at night it may get a bit more noisy but it was perfect for us.
The food at Sushisamba
The clue is in the name… Sushisamba is a Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian restaurant so you’ll find nods to all of these cuisines on the menu. We started with some edamame and plantain chips with aji amarillo, which is a dip made of Peruvian yellow chili pepper. Despite it containing chili, it wasn’t actually spicy.
The funniest thing about the edamame was it seemed never ending. We had filled almost the spare bowl with the empty shells and yet still had half a bowl to eat!
Gluten free menu
What’s great about Sushisamba is that they have vegetarian, vegan and gluten free menus. Fee is wheat intolerant so asked for the gluten free menu and there were quite a lot of options for her to choose from. She opted for the tuna sashimi, which looked oh so pretty, and they served it with gluten-free soy sauce.
I ordered the California Samba Roll, which consisted of eight pieces of sushi. They were filled with snow crab, Cornish brown crab, cucumber, avocado, sesame, Japanese mayo and truffle oil. I was slightly apprehensive of the truffle oil as I’m not a major fan but it was very subtle. Fee ordered the Ezo Samba Roll which was six pieces of soy-marinated salmon with asparagus, onion, chives, sesame, tempura flakes and wasabi mayo. I didn’t try Fee’s but mine were delicious!
I also ordered the yellowtail crispy taquitos, which came with avocado and roasted corn miso. As a hater of onion, I did ask for no onion but unfortunately it came with some raw red onion. Thankfully there wasn’t too much of it. It was very tasty and I’d definitely order them again – minus the onion, of course.
As it was my birthday, I was served a little birthday treat! It would have been a little cake but as Fee can’t eat wheat (and I guess they assumed I’d share), they brought some refreshing sorbet.
I will be totally honest here. The staff were absolutely lovely and very professional but the service was very slow. It took our server over 30 mins to come and take our order after we sat down. Not sure if they just happened to be short staffed that day but service was slow to say the least.
Suffice to say, Sushisamba is pretty pricey. We had two bottles of Prosecco (hey, it was a celebration!), one coffee and our food and the cost, including service, was around £200. It’s worth noting that the tables by the windows are set up only for couples so if you’re going with a group, you won’t be right by the window. If you’re taking someone for a special occasion, let them know in advance and also ask for a window table. It’s not guaranteed but it worked for us!