Sushi purists will struggle with Sushisamba. At this Japanese-Peruvian-Brazilian fusion restaurant, the chefs do wacky things like put mozzarella in your sushi and serve your kobe beef with mustard. Crazy, right? So are the interiors. This jungle-like space has a balcony, plants dangling off every inch of the ceiling (one hit me in the face as we walked to our table), dining booths that look like birdcages and a sexy Latino soundtrack that thumps away constantly as you eat. In other words: buckets of atmosphere.
The huge fusion menu features everything from plantains to wagyu beef and butterfish. Don’t be overwhelmed and miss the robata grill section, because the slightly chewy chicken hearts (‘corazon de pollo’) were the star of the show. Served anticuchos-style on a skewer, they came with a spicy sauce and a side of deliciously rubbery Peruvian corn. Also get the £8 kobe starter: a super-soft bun filled with tender wagyu beef and a tangy swirl of mustard on the side. Pad out the rest of your order with snacks, like some of that mozzarella sushi. I expected to hate it, but with its crispy onions and jalapenos, it tasted like a cheeseburger. We ended up polishing off the plate.
The catch was the bill, which added up quickly. If you’ve got cash to spare, go to Sushisamba. It’s a memorable place to eat in a sea of semi-boring Covent Garden spots aimed at tourists. Get a table on the balcony and you can watch them walk around below you like cute, camera-toting ants.