Food Review: Dubai's SushiSamba offers up a visual and culinary adventure

The Japanese-Brazilian-Peruvian restaurant tastes as good as it looks


Ambica Sachin

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Published: Tue 10 May 2022, 4:46 PM

If you are not a history or say even geography buff, chances are that you’re likely to view quizzically the eclectic menu at this Insta-worthy Dubai restaurant that melds Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian cuisines.

Located on the 51st floor of St Regis Dubai, at The Palm, SushiSamba offers up a birds-eye view of the playground of the rich and the socially famous uber residents of this city from your stylish perch. Equal parts sleek and equal parts luscious, the restaurant’s eye-catchy 3D printed ceiling installation, inspired by Japanese and Brazilian weaving tradition, engulfs one with a canopy-like warmth.

The same warmth we’d have liked to say bounced off the staff as well - our personal server Alejandro putting us at ease by rattling off his favourite dishes from the multi-dimensional menu so glibly we knew we were in safe gastronomic hands.

In a city that glibly markets its panoramic views from varying heights to tourists and residents alike, suffice to say SushiSamba enjoys an elevated position. And when you have had your fill of the 360-degree view of sun, sand and surf (all of which you can feast on from your vantage spot) you turn to the menu. Which is as compact and yet diverse as the global eatery, which boasts outposts in London and Las Vegas.

With Alejandro (when my dining companion mistakenly calls him by another name he chastises us with a reference to Lady Gaga!) proving to be our super efficient host for the afternoon, we indulged in a culinary adventure that saw us biting into crispy Yellowtail Taquitos mildly seasoned with white miso, coriander and lime, gorging on Prawn Gyoza with chilli ponzu providing a spicy kick, as well as dipping our toes into raw food territory with a lime infused sea bream Seviche as well as feasting on some stellar selection of sushi; the latter served with freshly grated-at-the-table wasabi.

If SushiSamba had to bottle up its signature flavours, it would be a palate pleasing mix of sourness, sweetness and saltiness, each balancing the other delicately.

From the Robata, two plump Sea bass chunks on a skewer infused with sprigs of rosemary had a melt-in-your-mouth buttery texture that defied comparisons to any we have had before.

Chargrilled Broccolini seasoned with sesame ponzu and sweet soy had a crunchy moreish quality that could have even the pickiest carnivore hankering for more.

From the Clay Pot we tried the Arroz Chaufa, soft poached egg mixed up with wild black rice at the table, imparting an almost gooey texture to the dish that was easily one of the most tasty ‘fried rice’ we’ve ever sampled.

Caramelised baby pineapple served in a scooped up fruit shell with coconut crème brûlée and sorbet and Japanese doughnut Anahi with a scoop of black sesame ice cream, raspberry and mango puree ended our culinary adventure for the day with a burst of tangy flavours.

Part history, part gastronomic roller coaster, the blending of Japanese, Peruvian and Brazilian cuisines at SushiSamba is at once symbolic of a city like Dubai that mixes up so many cultures and yet manages to make it seem homogeneous.

With a meal for two easily coming to an average of Dh700-800, SushiSamba is the place for a celebratory meal with sharing plates enhancing the communal feel. That's if you can peel your eyes off the panoramic views of The Palm...

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