Review: SushiSamba Dubai
There’s no shortage of hype surrounding this much awaited restaurant, does SushiSamba live up to it?
No two words have been uttered more often in the Dubai restaurant scene of late than Sushi Samba. The world-famous brand has teased a Palm Jumeirah arrival since 2019, and it’s with great pleasure to the What’s On team that the doors finally opened in mid-November 2021.
The sky-high spot sits pretty on the 51st floor of Palm Tower, right on the trunk of Palm Jumeirah. Wraparound views of the Palm below, as well as the surrounding ocean and skyscrapers, can be seen from every table, but the seats by the window offer a next-level experience.
Unsurprisingly, the restaurant is packed when we arrive – and we’re told that the reservations a full for the rest of the month. The hype around this opening has been plentiful, and with good reason, the original SushiSamba in London has garnered international praise for its culinary creations.
@whatsondubaiAfter two years, SushiSamba finally opens its doors in Dubai’ Palm Tower and does not disappoint ##whatsondubai ##mydubai ##dubairestaurants ##sushisamba♬ original sound – jovynn
In Dubai, the three-page menu is inspired by Japanese and Peruvian cuisine with Brazilian influence, featuring cold plates and raw dishes, robata grilled meats and fish, and sushi.
We kick off with two varieties of gyoza, one with prawn (Dhs68) and the other has Japanese A5 Wagyu beef (Dhs92). The beef is a clear winner, with incredibly flavourful meat, melting in the mouth from within soft yet crispy wrappers, however the prawn option is a delicious alternative for those avoiding meat.
The best way to sample SushiSamba’s selection of raw ‘seviches’, is via the Samba Seviche platter (Dhs299). A large plate features a Palm Tower shaped ice block with the restaurant’s name frozen in, while five different ceviche dishes chill around the edge. The tuna was a particular highlight, with a tangy garlic and sesame dressing and delicate flavourful tuna chunks.
Raw fans will also love the salmon tartare (Dhs85), which is served on a bed of black crispy nori. The flavours used in the salmon are an invigorating hit of citrus and creaminess from the dots of avocado puree – simply delicious.
Famed for its Samba Rolls, SushiSamba Dubai offers six varieties of maki, our favourite of which was the bahia (Dhs95), which includes shrimp tempura and avocado rolled in rice and topped with slivers of tuna and king crab. The combination of soft and crunchy, sweet and creamy gives the perfect balance.
The venue is dark and vibey, with large tilted windows providing the spectacular sparkling setting. A live bongo player drums along to the DJ who plays a soundtrack of uptempo tracks amongst the endless hum of excited chatter.
Forgoing traditional mains, the menu simply offers robata dishes from the traditional Japanese charcoal grill, which leaves a deliciously authentic charred taste in each mouthful. The 200g Australian Angus tenderloin (Dhs250) practically falls apart on the fork. Tender and juicy, the meat is topped with melted foie gras and chives for an unusual cross-cuisine flavour.
The black cod (Dhs180) is a safe but undeniably enjoyable choice, lathered in sticky sweet white miso and shichimi for a light kick. The spatchcock baby chicken (Dhs138) has even more of a kick, coated in a punchy rocoto taramind miso and grilled until perfectly charred.
Not wanting the evening to come to a close, we stretch to a dessert, albeit a light and carb-less option. The pineapple (Dhs59) comes in a real pineapple fruit, hollowed out to serve a caramelised compote topped with coconut sorbet which has just the right amount of sweetness.
So, should you believe the SushiSamba Dubai hype? If this introductory meal is anything to go by, the experience speaks for itself, and we’ll happily join you in the fight for a reservation.
SushiSamba Dubai, Palm Tower, Palm Jumeirah, Saturday to Tuesday 7pm to 2am, Wednesday to Friday 7pm to 3am. @sushisambadubai
Images: What’s On