A meal at the highest restaurant on Palm Jumeirah.
The year is 2012, and as a Londoner, SUSHISAMBA is the talk of the UK capital, having opened atop the Heron Tower, close to Liverpool Street Station. During that summer, I spent countless evenings overlooking the Square Mile while dining on the restaurant’s funky fusion menu, effortlessly blending the cuisines of Japan and the South American content.
Fast-forward a decade and I find myself at the newly opened SUSHISAMBA Dubai. Situated in the Palm Tower, the restaurant proudly proclaims to be the highest restaurant on Palm Jumeirah, and boy does it show.
Exiting the elevator on the 51st floor, I’m met with a dark and sultry interior. It’s immediately evident that no expense has been spared on the fit-out of the 12,000-square-foot space that capitalises on the restaurant’s unique location 230 metres above Dubai, where floor-to-ceiling windows offer stunning views of the Dubai skyline and Arabian Gulf.
Sinking into a comfortable booth beneath the restaurants striking 3D printed bamboo ceiling, inspired by Japanese and Brazilian woodwork and weaving traditions, I’m immediately enraptured by the lively and energetic vibe of the tropical venue.
With a rumoured two-month waiting list for reservations, SUSHISAMBA can already be categorised as a resounding success, fully supported by courteous service, brilliant beverages and a menu that reads like the love child of COYA and ZUMA. SUSHISAMBA Dubai offers an appealing yet eclectic selection of small plates, seviches, sushi, clay pots and robata that has been designed with sharing in mind.
I thoroughly appreciate the cool salmon tartare (AED 85) presented with a nori crisp for texture and adorned with avocado, tobiko, and caviar. Similarly, the seviche selection offers impressive choices, with the salmon (AED 54) being a clear favourite thanks to its tropical combination of passion fruit and fiery aji Amarillo.
Fully embracing the unique blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian flavours, we plough headfirst into the Samba Rolls. The Samba Dubai (AED148) is exclusive to our Middle Eastern location and features an exciting combination of lobster, mango, avocado and aji honey truffle. It’s an enjoyable and decent choice, but one that is soon surpassed by the Bahia (AED 95), a textural marvel of tuna, shrimp tempura and jumbo crab.
The desserts, which include a glorious chocolate fondant and stunning yuzu cheesecake, mark the high point of a memorable meal, elevated even further by the sky-high view and kinetic vibe.
SUSHISAMBA has become the most in-demand reservation in town and certainly lives up to the hype. There will be a sense of familiarity or perhaps even nostalgia for those who’ve dined at the restaurants in London or Las Vegas, while those who have never experienced the concept before should prepare for a great time.
Get those reservations in quick.