Can the new SUSHISAMBA, Covent Garden ever live up to the dizzying heights of its city sister?
Ok, so the new location isn’t on the 38th floor BUT what SUSHISAMBA Covent Garden lacks in height it more than makes up for with beautiful views of the piazza and OTT design. The new space has certainly got the wow factor – you start by ascending a spiral staircase, up to the first floor and from here you’ll spot a huge street art mural – after that you probably won’t know where to look first. There’s black and white geometric flooring, a ‘live ceiling’ made up of exotic plants and open kitchens (yes, plural).
Like the existing restaurants in the city, Miami, Las Vegas and Amsterdam, the menu is a culmination of Brazilian, Peruvian and Japanese cuisine. You’ll find a lot of your old favourites although there are some newbies available exclusively at Covent Garden. One that springs to mind are the samba rolls with soft shell crab, hamachi (yellow tail), yuzu tobiko (flying fish roe), bonito flakes, avocado, asparagus and yuzu miso. A beautiful row of bright red rolls, decorated with micro herbs.
This is very much a menu designed to share, share, share. This does mean the bill tends to creep up. But of everything we ordered (and we ordered A LOT!) there wasn’t anything we’d be happy to forgo. Kobe features pretty extensively on the menu and one of the most economical ways of ordering it is in gyoza form. They come as a portion of five and are so delicious that the waitress insisted on bringing six over to avoid arguments. She was right to do so. If you couldn’t give a hoot about keeping costs down, there’s a 1kg steak available for a grand. Sure.
We began with the tuna ceviche which was presented under a cloud of red pomegranate foam – not like any ceviche we’d seen before. I’m not normally hugely excited by tempura – it’s just stuff, deep fried, right? – but OH MY GOD the green bean tempura was heavenly. The spears come with black truffle aioli for dipping and, oh dear, I’m dribbling. If there’s black cod on the menu, I’m ordering it, and here the kind waitress cuts it up for you at the table – it’s served with a polenta rectangle, sweetcorn, and strangely, popcorn, and was one of the more substantial dishes on offer.
Dessert was pretty spectacular – in keeping with the rainforest theme we tried the aptly titled ‘Welcome to the Rainforest’ which is served in a cacao pod shaped dish and contains Peruvian chocolate ‘soil’ topped with edible flowers and foliage. It hides layers of coffee, vanilla, pistachio and macadamia nut under the ‘earth’ and is really pretty special.
Cocktails are very much the order of the day and we highly recommend the Kobe (kobe fat washed Japanese whisky, salted caramel, maple). Stirred until icy cold and served over a block of ice, It reminded me of a drink Richard Woods (Head of Spirit & Cocktail Development) came up with over at Duck & Waffle, which I declared one of the best cocktails I’ve ever consumed in my life. So yeah, pretty damn delicious.
All in all Sushisamba is a helluva lot of fun whether you’re in a big boozy work group, a sexy little date for two or a quick cocktail pitstop post Covent Garden spree. We can’t wait to return.
SUSHISAMBA Covent Garden is located at 35 The Market, London, WC2E 8RF
For additional information visit www.sushisamba.com