I have a thing for high places. If there's a bar or restaurant in a high place, you can bet I'll probably be sold on it. For the work Christmas party last year, we went to Paramount, 33 floors above London in the Centrepoint tower. More recently, I've been frequenting the Oxo Tower Bar and Madison and keeping a weather eye on the new openings. It's only natural, therefore, that Heron Tower's two high-above offerings of Duck & Waffle and Sushi Samba have been on my list ever since they opened.
After Purl, we spontaneously decided to give Sushi Samba a go. A quick hop over town in a taxi, a wave through from the host and hostesses on the ground floor, and a skip into the very-quick lift to the 39th floor. This is what it's all about; the unobscured view of the city.
The bar on the 39th floor was hosting a private party for some city slickers, so we headed downstairs to the restaurant and nabbed the last table of the night. Surrounded by impressively huge painted canvasses, the bamboo ceiling, the illuminated orange tree inside the champagne bar out on the terrace and the awe-inspiring view over the city, we felt pretty special.
We kicked off with a bottle of Italian pinot - okay, perhaps not the most logical of choices but we were lost in the hundreds of different kinds of sake on offer - that was attentively topped up by the impeccably dressed waiters and waitresses. First out to the table was the Sasa Samba roll - shrimp tempura, shishito, coriander, spicy mayonnaise and red onion. A light mix tightly wrapped, enough to share and enough to whet the appetite.
The main affair was the sashimi and nigiri. Not the most wallet-friendly of choices but definitely the most impressive. The sashimi came served on an iced platter; three pieces of seven kinds (tuna, yellowtail, salmon, snow crab, sea bass, shrimp and scallop) while the nigiri came as seven pieces on a thin wooden board. Soy is readily available on your table and the wasabi brings the bite. We devoured the sushi and found that it was definitely enough to share. My on-off love affair with it is often caused by the below-par variations you get in your lunch break, but obviously Sushi Samba with its skilled itamae blow anything you've ever tried before out of the water.
We finished our wine out on the terrace, shivering a little in the fog that had descended during the day, before rubbing shoulders with some of the aforementioned city slickers and Roman Abramovich, who had been sitting at the next table during dinner.
Sushi Samba's definitely an experience. The staff were friendly and great, the atmosphere buzzing and the view incredible. Perhaps one for a special occasion (our bill came to £180 for two), go at sunset to watch the city change before your eyes and stay for the champagne bar on the terrace. A five out of five for me, and I'm definitely looking forward to giving its sister-from-another-mister, Duck & Waffle, a go.
Photos from the Sushi Samba website and Design My Night