The second London location for glamorous international brand Sushisamba has landed on top of Covent Garden’s Opera Terrace, and there’s one major difference to the Liverpool Street debut – it’s missing the City site’s spectacular view. Overlooking the tourist-heavy crowds of Covent Garden’s piazza instead of glimmering skyscrapers and famous landmarks, the restaurant may have lost some of its ‘occasion dining’ flair, but it is still a thrilling ride.
Stylish interiors and a buzzing atmosphere compensate for the initial lack of spectacle. Make your way to the restaurant via a spiral staircase which is (naturally) decked out in the brand’s signature bright orange hue. Once inside, you’re greeted by the sexy bar, which looks like a grown-up Rainforest Café and features a high-maintenance ‘living’ ceiling of foliage. Elsewhere, there are plush red velvet booths for groups, and a sushi bar-cum-dining counter for those looking to get close to the cheffing action.
All the Sushisamba hits are present on the menu: moreish green bean tempura served with a slick of black truffle aioli makes for a decadent snack, while springy gyoza are stuffed with intensely meaty Wagyu beef and served on a neon yellow pool of sweet-tasting kabocha.
From the selection of vibrantly coloured sushi rolls, the El Topo was our favourite: a tightly-packed roll layered with strips of salmon, a splodge of melted mozzarella, jalapeños and a dusting of crispy shallots. More sizeable dishes include fleshy, wobbly pork belly skewers from a robata grill which are glazed with a sticky-sweet butterscotch miso sauce, and flaky black cod which melts on the tongue.
Cocktails are fun, flirty and expensive, while there’s more opportunity to splash the cash via upmarket wines and Champagnes. We followed our switched-on waiter’s recommendation for dessert and were not disappointed by the arrival of a gooey chocolate and banana cake, finished off with a scoop of rum-spiked ice cream and a sugar-dusted plantain chip. A place to see and be seen, this latest Sushisamba won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s bang on the money for its target audience: and boy, do they have a lot of money.