By Lauren Jade Hill
Earlier this year, Sushisamba’s executive chef Cláudio Cardoso embarked on a journey to the Peruvian Amazon in support of the restaurant’s new charity partner Cool Earth who work towards protecting the rainforest and its communities. And it was during his time here that the chef found inspiration for the latest additions to the London restaurant’s menu.
By spending time with a number of the rainforest communities, from fresh water fishing in the Urubamba River to seeing the benefits of Cool Earth’s endeavor to encourage these communities to embrace the natural produce around them, chef Cardoso gained insight into the food culture of this unique part of the world and the ingredients grown and harvested here. His experience of harvesting coffee beans and cacao with the Asháninka indigenous group has since led to the community becoming the supplier of these ingredients to Sushisamba.
On returning to the UK, Cardoso set out to create a number of dishes that reflect his time spend in the Amazon, fusing the classic flavors and distinct style of Sushisamba’s Japanese-Peruvian cuisine with ingredients grown in the Peruvian rainforest. Now, some of these dishes are integrated into the restaurant’s menu, giving diners a chance to sample Asháninka-inspired cuisine and experience the flavors, colors and textures of the Amazon.
Diners can tuck into a Yuka Plantation dish combining yuka, sesame, sweet potato and smoke emulsion, or go for the Cancha Seviche dish bringing white Cusco corn, dried cancha corn and mixed cancha corn together with lime and red onion. Brave, inspired and surprising, the yuka dish stands out in particular for its smoky and sweet fusion of flavors and unexpected textures.
For dessert, the menu then features the chef’s Welcome to the Rainforest creation of Asháninka chocolate and coffee with vanilla, pistachio, macadamia nut and sugar cane, which is pleasingly plated to represent the rainforest floor and its flora. As the Asháninka community supplies the ingredients for each of these dishes, they continue to benefit from the revenue.
These dishes sit alongside Sushisamba’s classic sharing plates, from seviche fusing delicate cuts of seafood with citrus-infused leche de tigre and less conventional additions such as tamarind and pickled mandarin, to Japanese charcoal grill robata, a variety of creative sushi rolls, and one of the restaurant’s greatest claims: authentic Kobe beef. As one of the select restaurants to serve certified Kobe beef, Sushisamba became the first ever venue in London to offer the Kobe Ishiyaki dining experience (priced at approximately $1,290).
The creatively presented plates can be paired with a fine Japanese sake or savored alongside the restaurant’s legendary cocktails; signature serves include the zesty Nashi Martini combining Grey Goose La Poire, St Germain and Japanese plum wine with lychee water, passion fruit syrup and yuzu.
All of this is served in the high-ceilinged, light-filled dining space high-up in London’s Heron Tower, with floor-to-ceiling windows commanding uninterrupted views over the capital. Within this striking space incorporating geometric black and white floors, pops of vibrant orange, brown leather safari-style chairs, lush foliage and contemporary light fittings, a convivial atmosphere is created by the energy of the staff, samba music and an upbeat dining crowd.
Try chef Cláudio Cardoso’s new Amazon-inspired dishes at Sushisamba, London.