This is the first in my ‘Foodie Series’ /Reviews of places I eat. I am hugely into eating out, good food & wine and over the years I have eaten in some amazing restaurants from the michelin-starred, the trendy, the pop-ups, the street food, overated, underated and anything in between. I was never going to really introduce food onto this blog, but it just makes sense as I love eating out so much, and will only be a once in a while kinda vibe. What spurred me on was actually a really bad meal I had in SushiSamba last weekend. I promise you, they won’t be all this shady but I have to be honest and I would hate for other people to waste theit hard-earned ca$h in over rated places.
Please excuse the not-so-great-snaps off my iphone ; like I said I was never going to turn this into a ‘review’ but after my experience I thought I would.
Summary : Hugely disappointing. Overpriced. Won’t ever go back. Can you not.
Food Type: Japanese
Location: Bishopsgate, London EC1Y. Nearest Tube Liverpool Street
Price: Approx £70 per head (inc wine)
Book Ahead? A must. It’s like SO trendy YAH.
My Thoughts. Wow, well where do I start?! Japanese food is probably one of my favourite cuisines and I have eaten at some of the best restaurants in London for it ; Nobu on many occasions, Zuma, Roka…and from pre-inspecting the SushiSamba menu and gauging the prices, I was expecting it to be a similar standard as the aformentioned.
It isn’t. Not even close.
My first irk when walking in ; snotty cloakroom girls and reception girls. Ok, we can dust that aside and move on, as this is the least of my concerns about this restaurant, and that kind of stuff does happen in a lot of swanky & pretentious restaurants. Me and my girlfriend (I was treating her to a birthday dinner) ordered some drinks and a bunch of stuff of the menu to share. The best thing I had on the evening was by far the cocktail (pictured) which had some tuna ceviche on the side ; YUM. The rest of the food all merged into a blur of sub-standard meh-ness. Nothing was great, I would go as far to say the sushi was on par to the stuff you would pick up in M&S (at 6x the price) and although we were recommended the ‘signature’ sushi roll ; I literally could not even tell you what it was, except it was over-poweringly fishy and we had 2 out out of 9 rolls and left the rest. I always, ALWAYS order tempura prawns/popcorn shrimp type things from japanese restaurants as it it my favourite thing in the world, I live for it, but this arrived pre-drenched in sauce, which not only over powered the taste of the prawns but it TURNED MY TEMPURA SOGGY. I should have upped and left here.
So lets’ put the food and tempura issues aside ; the service. I think on my last tally, we had FIVE waiters serve us. Not only confusing, but no relationship could be built up, no friendliness and no rapport. I had to ask for our wine to be filled up….twice, as they like to keep it in one of those stupid ice buckets away from the table. That is usually fine, when you have an attentive waiter, but finishing your wine and waiting 5 minutes, as you are eating then trying to flag down one of your 5 un-interested waiters for more is not acceptable. Not when you are paying in excess of £70 a head for the dis-pleasure.
I paid up, no member of staff said thankyou or goodbye as we left (I did tip…too much) and that was that. I felt thoroughly pissed off and it was such an anti-climax as I love japanese food and had wanted to come here for some time. Fortunately we both bolted upstairs for a post-food cocktail(s) in the Duck & Waffle, and as always, they were super friendly and softened the blow of SushiSamba horror show slightly.
Final Thought : Eat japanese elsewhere. It’s all hype and probably appealing to those who don’t eat a lot of japanese food , like a pretty view, pretentious surroundings and a fancy cocktail.