Lunch at Sushi Samba

by Jo Kenny

lunch at sushi samba

I know that I don’t do badly for eating out regularly but honestly I wish I could do it even more. I’m one of those people who stares blankly when someone says they get sick of restaurants on holiday. Why do so many people say that?

I recently met up with the girls (‘The girls!’) in London to catch up… we hadn’t all been together in nearly two years! We chose sky high restaurant Sushi Samba for lunch. As one of the most high profile restaurants in London (and as a big ol’ sushi lover) lunch at Sushi Samba has been on my hit list for a very long time. I was so excited to finally tick it off!


Sushi Samba is just a two minute walk from Liverpool Street station and located on the 38th floor of the Heron Tower. You can’t miss the ‘Sushi Samba’ pink neon writing from the street. It was a grey day but when you’re 38 floors high even grey looks good. If you’ve never been up the Heron tower, the glass lift shoots you up into the sky whilst you gaze over London disappearing beneath you. When you reach the top your stomach will catch up a second later. I mentioned specifically that I have wanted to have lunch at Sushi Samba for a while, because I have wanted to go during full daylight to enjoy those spectacular views at their best.

What’s on The Menu

Typical of when friends are catching up together after a long time apart, there were a few sorry-we’re-not-ready-yets to our waitress and exclamations of, “Right!” then delving into the menu… before getting side tracked again by conversation. When we finally gave the menu some proper attention (the attention it deserved) it was a unique and varied spread of mostly small dishes, inspired by Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisine. So yes it’s a little gimmicky, and as a rule I’m not a fan of fusion food as it can so easily be very naff. Jack of all trades master of none, if you will. Reading the menu feels rather seamless however and I was willing to put my faith in Sushi Samba, given the upmarket nature and good reputation.


It naturally didn’t take long for the drinks menu to be discovered… more like a drinks bible given how thick it is. Pretty much every cocktail and drink under the sun is available. The cocktail menu is unsurprisingly pricey given the location at around £14 a pop on average, but I’m so glad that I treated myself to a Lychee Cooler: Grey Goose, St. Germain and vanilla sugar, shaken with lychee juice and coconut milk. This is fresh, creamy heaven. Honestly the best cocktail I have had in years. I am such a fan of fragrant cocktails and if you are too then you have to order this beauty!

Service is snappy at Sushi Samba; once we had ordered and the first dish arrived, the rest followed in a precession that had us shuffling like mad to fit everything that we’d ordered on the table! What a wonderful problem to have. I do like that about places that serve small dishes and sharers; you all forget what’s coming and there’s that lovely excitement when more and more arrives to the table.

My first dish to arrive was the shrimp tempura with spicy mayo and black truffle vinaigrette and it was a very strong start. Probably my favourite of the whole meal. Yep, I started out strong! Creamy, tangy, crunchy little shrimp, and a very hearty portion which went down a treat with me given how ravenous I was at the start of this meal! They’d been tossed in the sauce and served in impeccable timing; no soggy batter. The contrast in texture was immense.

Wagyu gyoza arrived next. I had high hopes for these, but whilst tasty they certainly were not the best I’ve had. The meat inside had a very close texture which made them a little chewy. I like my gyozas super soft, save for nice crispy bums!

Then the sushi arrived, on a huge platter full of colour! I ordered the samba rolls which are a dizzying marriage of crab, tuna, salmon, white fish, prawn, avocado, tempura crunch, rice cracker, Japanese pickles and wasabi mayo. Great for the diner who can’t make up their mind! Overall the presentation of the dishes is impeccable. Sometimes, it’s downright weird…

Yes. That is a kobe beef slider on a section of iron girder with a nail stuck through it. I think if anything were to be called ‘naff’ in Sushi Samba then this is it. It also took up some serious real estate on the table which was in short supply. But I can’t argue that it brought a few smiles and chuckles and I guess it can’t be sniffed at for making lunch feel lighthearted. We’ll all remember ‘the iron girder burger’ right?

Crispy taquitos are another must on the menu for how zingy and fresh they are! Being so hungry when we arrived and how on it the service was, our visit to Sushi Samba felt a bit like a whirlwind and no sooner had we sat down with growling stomachs we were leaning back and insisting someone else had the last Samba roll.

The Cost of my Lunch

My lunch at Sushi Samba came to £65 which is of course at the higher price tag as far as lunches go, but overall I’d say it was worth it. What a couple of my dishes lacked in absolute wow-factor were made up for with that view; my God I can’t tell you how good it is to dine up there! It feels so special.

I’m so happy to have ticked it off my list, I’d consider returning with Q for sure. After all I’ve still got the kobe beef programme to experience. £144 for a kobe ribeye? One day for sure. Can you add beef to a wedding gift list?

Pin it For Later

If you decide to check out Sushi Samba then I would love to hear about your experience! You can tag me at @jogirleatsworld. Tell me what you loved best from the menu!


Did you know that I have a cookbook?

Well since you’re here, let me tell you about it! Cook It, Eat It, Live It is my debut cookbook. It is a personal collection of vibrant and varied recipes straight from my own dinner table, guaranteeing no more boring dinners!

You’ll find recipes to suit all seasons and appetites, with inspirations taken from British, Japanese and Caribbean cuisine. Recipes are punctuated with travel stories, food diaries and a personal philosophy for the every day joy that food can bring to life.

Cook It, Eat It, Live It has received fantastic reviews! Check them out


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