On November 1st, Sushisamba began welcoming guests in to its newest location, Sushisamba Covent Garden, adding to the brand’s existing locations in Miami, Las Vegas, Amsterdam, and the 40th floor of the Heron Tower in London. The newest addition has been a highly anticipated arrival for the vibrant restaurant brand known for fusing Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian culture and cuisine, with a prime spot on the Opera Terrace of Covent Garden’s Grade II-listed Market Building.
Accessed through a doorway on an outside corner of the Market Building, the restaurant entrance lies at the top of an orange marble spiral staircase featuring a Japanese mythology-inspired mural. True to the Sushisamba aesthetic but with a greater focus on the South American rain forest, the Oscar Niemeyer-designed space pairs black and white marble floors with a ‘living ceiling’ of lush South American and Japanese plants, a cocktail bar, open-kitchen framed by Japanese lanterns, and circular sushi bar with counter seating under an abstract Japanese fan ceiling. The private dining room comes with its own balcony along with décor of wooden beams, copper curtains and Japanese screens, and a series of artists and craftsmen were brought in to create bespoke pieces for the entire space. From this vantage point on the market’s terrace, diners are afforded views over Covent Garden’s historic Piazza.
You’ll find many Sushisamba classics on the menu — from crispy lobster taquitos with avocado, aji amarillo, jalapeno, lime, maize and morano, to tuna ceviche with pomegranate leche de tigre, maiz morado, wasabi peas and basil, and the surprising octopus dish from the robata, in which tender charcoal grilled octopus sits on a crispy nori and rice boat with edible flowers, herbs and a smoky red pepper sauce — but you’ll also see a number of dishes that are unique to this location. Try the smoke and sweet Yuca Plantation combining yuca, sesame, sweet potato and smoke emulsion in a small plate disguised as ash and charcoal; on the sushi front, go for the prettily presented Samba Covent Garden roll stuffed with soft shell crab, hamachi, yuzu tobiko, bonito flakes, avocado, asparagus and yuzu miso; and tuck into pork belly that’s been cooked on the robata charcoal grill with butterscotch miso.
To finish, try the Welcome to the Rain Forest dessert in which asháninka chocolate, asháninka coffee, vanilla, pistachio, macadamia nut, and sugar cane is given the appearance of the rain forest floor in a dish shaped like a cacao pod.
The cocktail menu is no less exciting – again bringing together Sushisamba classics and creations that are unique to the venue. Covent Garden’s in-house cocktails are designed to reflect the changing seasons. Currently, the list includes drinks like the short and fresh Little Pedro, combining chili infused Ancho Reyes Verde with cucumber, yuzu and Orgeat; and the clean and zesty Yuzu Martinez of Bombay Sapphire gin, Martini Riserva Speciale Rubino vermouth, homemade yuzu liqueur and maraschino.
With its Brazilian soundtrack and upbeat vibe, this is a restaurant you could stay sampling cocktails at until closing time, but with its proximity to the theaters and pre-theater menu, this is also the ideal spot for an early supper.