The second London outpost of this dazzling international chain has finally arrived in Covent Garden Market's Opera Terrace (on the former site of Brasserie Blanc), serving “heavenly” Japanese/South American fusion fare.
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“The lift ride up to the 39th floor is part of the fun”, when you visit the “amazing” City branch, in the Heron Tower, of this US-based chain (with siblings in Vegas and Miami): a Hollywood-esque scene, complete with a ritzy cocktail bar; vertigo-inducing outside terrace; and svelte dining room boasting “incredible views”. But while it can offer an all-round “great experience” – not least “fabulous” funky, fusion fare – its “pretty-looking” dishes come at extragalactic prices and sceptics feel that “you can eat this style of cuisine better elsewhere” nowadays. (Gripes of an overly “sweet note” to dishes also crept in this year). Its year-old WC2 sibling likewise has a superb setting on top of Covent Garden Market, overlooking the back of the Royal Opera House. But while it, too, is “all very slick and fashionable”, it, too, charges “obscene prices albeit for decent food” and – lacking the high-rise glam of the Square Mile – can seem more “clinical” and “pleased with itself”.
What’s not to like at this “fabulous” 39th floor pan-Asian in the Heron Tower (reached by western Europe’s fastest lifts!) – the interior is “very cool”, “the views are to die for” and “the food just sings – punchy flavours of sweet, sour, salty deliciousness”. The answer, unfortunately, is “slow and disorganised service” and “prices even higher than the skyscraper it’s based in” which leave far too many reporters nowadays (including former fans) accusing it of “style over substance”. Its long-awaited new Covent Garden sibling – occupying the dramatic site that has seen many chains come and go (most recently Brasserie Blanc) finally opens in November 2018.
“It’s high up and happening” (“even the lift to get up there is brilliant!”) and “you can’t knock the breathtaking view, or for that matter the food” on the “impressive” 39th floor of the Heron Tower, which “shouts romance” and has “a beautiful roof balcony” to boot. Even so, whether you can justify the “astronomical” prices is debatable, and while the “bold” Japanese/South American fusion bites are “exquisitely tangy and fresh”, it can seem like “there’s even more emphasis on how they look than how they taste”. A sibling Sushisamba is to open in Covent Garden Market’s Opera Terrace as we go to press.
“How can the view not create atmosphere – you’re in the atmosphere!” Reached by one of Europe’s fastest lifts, this “simply amazing”, 39th-floor eyrie – complete with a movie-set bar, and “lovely outdoor spaces” – is hard to beat for sheer glam. The mesospheric prices “go with the height” though, and even those applauding the “beautifully tasty” Japanese/South American fusion bites “would question the price tag that goes with them!” Coming soon in 2017 – a sibling in the gorgeous, but perennially disappointing space above Covent Garden Market, overlooking the back of the Royal Opera House.