For years I’ve been hearing the general buzz about Heron Tower’s bars and restaurants, but until recently I hadn’t taken the memorable ride in its near supersonic elevator to find out more.
Prior to my elevation, I had conflated the building’s Japanese-Brazilian-Peruvian SushiSamba with its modern European Duck & Waffle into a mush of quacking sushi. My opening five minutes didn’t help clarify things, as I was sent on a wild duck chase from the 38th to the 40th floor and back again. When I was finally seated in SushiSamba the kerfuffle was swiftly forgotten: the views across the city are nothing short of spectacular.
I was there to work my way through SushiSamba’s new culinary cocktail list. The Coconut Ceviche, Padrón Pepper Caipirinha and Pistachio & Avocado Batida are all worthy of a place on the list, but the Kobe Cocktail and Tom Yam deserve special mention.
The Kobe Cocktail is an Old Fashioned fat-washed with Kobe beef. Fat washing is a technique for imparting the flavour of fats into a spirit. You can try it at home. Simply mix fat with a spirit, leave it to cool and finally skim off the fat. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the fat from the prized Tajima strain of wagyu cattle – whose marbled fat, I think, is exquisite enough to be displayed in galleries – is worthy of a classic cocktail.
It’s the smoothest Old Fashioned you’ll drink in the city, so if you’re the kind of guy or gal who always orders one, you should make the pilgrimage for this one. At £28, it doesn’t come cheap, but good value isn't just measured in price. After all, you can always pop up for a swift one after work, chew (and sip) the fat, then balance the budget (if not your calorie intake) with a KFC on your way back to Liverpool Street.
However, as good as the Kobe Cocktail is, for my money the best cocktail on the new list is the Tom Yam. I’m rarely impressed with vodka-based cocktails, but prejudices are there to be overturned. The Tom Yam has all the qualities that make its namesake soup so tasty – it’s fresh, spicy, sour and wonderfully fragrant.
■ 50ml coriander infused Reyka vodka
■ 25ml Ginger syrup
■ 15ml Fresh lemon juice
■ 2 Kaffir lime leaves
■ Pinch coriander cress
■ 1-2 ribbons of red and green chilies (deseeded)
■ Add all to a tall highball glass filled half way with crushed ice.
■ Add fresh ice to top and garnish.