Travel & Life Digest

SushiSamba, London

It's absolutely worth it!
And don't let me fool you with all the "oohs" and "aahs", this place is freaking expensive but... it's worth it!
Take the lift up to the 38th floor of Heron Tower in the City and you feel you are in Willy Wonka's elevator, ready to break through the glass roof and take off, until it suddenly stops - quietly.

As you walk through the vibrant bar and restaurant to get to the east balcony the smells take your breath away. Flames and hot coal produce amazing "robata" dishes, Japanese barbecue galore in other words.

Sitting there on the 38th floor looking over the Gherkin, Tower Bridge and the Docklands I actually felt content. All of the senses happy at the same smelled as good as a Greek barbecue, it sounded like a chill-out session in Copacabana and the sake cocktails left a very elegant and fragrant I said before, it's worth the effort. For dinner and a couple of cocktails you are looking at £70-£80 per head, which can easily be exceeded if you start chatting to the friendly waiters, who are very enthusiastic about the sake in house.
I did try the Masumi or "mirror of truth", a very smooth and slightly sweet sake with interesting aftertaste. The Ume No Yuzu Shu had a very zingy aftertaste, almost like a smooth grappa. My favourite by far was the Masumi.

Now to food, where do I start?
Our absolute favourites were the glazed belly wraps, layers of sweet, succulent pork with a topping of crispy pork scratchings, orange and palmito. 
What does palmito do in a Japanese dish? Well, here comes an interesting twist, as the name gives away this is a Japanese restaurant with Brazilian and Peruvian influences. And here comes the part of "learning something new" every day: a lot of Japanese families emigrated to south America in the late 1800's, hence a fusion Samba cuisine was born! I now remember reading about it in Isabelle Allende's book "The daughter of Fortune" but it never clicked that the influence would be so substantial! Excellent!

Now more food...the next favourites were the Samba rolls, London Samba won over Sao Paulo for me. The Sao Paulo rolls had more rice, while the London Samba ones were simply melting away after one bite! 
We also had duck robata, grilled over flames, very soft and accompanied by a spoonful of seven-spice, light and uplifting with hints of kaffir lemon, I think - but then again I might be wrong!
The Brazilian sounds changed to more upbeat as the evening progressed and I would have happily sat there to take in the amazing lit-up London skyline if it wasn't for the sake temptation - I still have to go to work in the morning!

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