London eats and drinks

London city (Photo: Greater London Authority)

I’m not a frequent visitor to London, and the changes in the skyline over the last few years impressed me. The Gherkin has been joined by The Shard, the Heron Tower, the Walkie Talkie, the Cheese Grater, etc. Some of these glass and steel towers house fine restaurants with fabulous views.

On my recent visit, I wandered into the Heron Tower by chance. A scarily fast, glass, external lift propels you to the 39th floor – leaving your stomach on the ground, momentarily. Up there is a very fine and very popular restaurant called Sushi Samba, a Japanese-Brazilian fusion if you please.

The most impressive thing is not the lift, the food, the extensive sake list nor the view, but the fact that it has an outdoor deck. Yes, at 39 floors up you can sit outside and order drinks from the snappy hipsters manning the outdoor bar. It was packed that Saturday and the weather was perfect, affording a clear view into the far distance. But few were looking, their attention focused inward on the beautiful people who jammed the place.

I sat at the sushi bar and ordered wagyu gyoza and a sushi roll, with a glass of sake from the featured brewery, Taruzake. Nothing’s cheap, of course (the tab was 48 quid), but it was all highly satisfying. I’d certainly go back and have been recommending it ever since.

Sushi Samba, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY

Other recommendations

Noble Rot

Comfy, nostalgic atmosphere (chintz, wood panelling), excellent fish and great wine list. Run by the guys behind the innovative new wine magazine Noble Rot.

51 Lamb’s Conduit St, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3NB

Tapas Brindisa

Expensive for a fairly no-frills tapas bar, but good honest Spanish food and brisk service. Good wine list, but not cheap: a bottle of current Remelluri Rioja cost GBP £75.

18-20 Southwark St, London SE1 1TJ

67 Pall Mall

The hot new place for wine geeks, with over 300 wines by the glass on Coravin (including a La Tâche!). Downside: it’s a club, and you have to be with a member.

67 Pall Mall, London SW1Y 5ES

Rex Whistler restaurant at the Tate Britain

Traditional English food, a bit fuddy-duddy, but very good roast English beef with Yorkshire Pudding and all the trimmings. A very good wine list, and a very helpful, no-bull female sommelier.

Millbank, London SW1P 4RG

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