Laura Morris tasted the best of two worlds on a visit to SUSHISAMBA Doha.

When you hear SUSHISAMBA you probably conjure up images of a place predominantly serving sushi, that plays loud beats reminiscent of a samba fiesta – three contrasting cuisines forced together as a way to simply tap into something ‘different’. I’m glad to tell you this couldn’t be further from reality!

SUSHISAMBA Doha is, in fact, a celebration of cultures, styles and influences, where diners are guaranteed an experience that is second to none. One of the most in-demand establishments in the city; it certainly lives up to the hype. As the name denotes, sushi, a staple of Japan, forms part of a rich and varied menu, which is combined with ‘Samba’, the dynamic essence of Peruvian and Brazilian charm.

Waldorf Astoria Lusail is the home of SUSHISAMBA Doha, a statement destination, designed to impress. The moment you descend the stairs, you are whisked away to a world of visual magnificence: a home of colour, texture and eclectic design. Only at SUSHISAMBA will you find a unique blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian culture and cuisine. SUSHISAMBA is born of the energy and spirit of these three distinct cultures, a tri-cultural coalition. Brazilian terrazzo flooring warmly welcomes you, while colossal metal trees stand tall, creating an atmosphere that leaves you awestruck. The expansive dining area, enclosed in glass, allows natural light to gracefully dance through. Carefully curated, the space feels intimate, cosy and elegant, featuring both indoor and outdoor dining areas as well as an exclusive beach club. SUSHISAMBA Doha Beach Club is the first of its kind, and the only and first Beach Club of SUSHISAMBA brand worldwide.

We were shown to our seats and welcomed with SAMBA Crisps, a vibrant selection, with colours that mimic the orange and golden tones of the setting. These were served with aji Amarillo, a sauce that packs a punch. As fiery as the samba, the heat danced on my tongue and I knew we were in for a feast of flavours! The first course arrived and what a sight to behold. I was dazzled by the spectacle: it was vivid and exciting and it smelled divine! Wagyu Gyoza came with a smooth kabocha purée and sweet soy drizzle, irresistible from the first bite. The chefs pan-fry them so the soft, perfectly salted meat is wrapped in a slightly crunchy blanket which adds a delightful texture. We next dug into Shrimp Tempura, the best of its kind – creamy, crunchy and with just the right amount of heat. The black truffle vinaigrette an elegant addition to the flavour, which really elevates the dish. Sitting alongside, just waiting to be devoured were Crispy Taquitos, two, light and fresh yellowtail taquitos in crunchy shells, delicately crafted with avocado and miso. Our waiter advised us to use the fresh lime to intensify the flavours and he was not wrong! The final dish in this collection and, for us, one of the standouts: the Chilean Sea Bass Anticuchos with miso and Peruvian corn. The fresh fish was cooked to perfection – large plump pieces, we savoured every mouthful!

The food kept coming and only got better as Chef Esteban delivered us the exquisite Japanese Wagyu Ishiyaki. Thinly sliced and delicately seasoned, this dish was accompanied by a selection of sauces: a luxurious truffle option, yellow chili and panko, and a fiery spicy sauce, so that each slice is cooked to your preference. The chef’s expertise shone as he seared the succulent Wagyu on a sizzling-hot stone at our table, creating a sensory spectacle as satisfying as it was delicious!

Fully embracing the unique blend of Japanese, Brazilian and Peruvian flavours, we strutted into the mains. Our first offering, the Mushroom Kamameshi, is a dish that features a delectable medley of assorted mushrooms, artfully garnished with fragrant black truffle shavings and crisp garlic chips. Each bite was a delightful journey through earthy flavours and rich textures but it was soon surpassed by Moqueca Mista, a harmonious blend of shrimp, squid, sea bass, mussels and clams in a luscious sea of coconut milk and dende oil, served alongside flavourful Chimichurri Rice. This Brazilian coastal-inspired masterpiece showcased a diverse selection of seafood, delivering an unforgettable taste of the ocean’s bounty that transports the palate straight to the shores of Brazil.

The sushi selection, of course, exceeded expectations. It looked, good and tasted even better! Expertly crafted by Chef Manuel, whose nickname among the SUSHISAMBA Doha team is ‘The Sushi Master.’ A true masterpiece, presented in a grand bowl, where vibrancy, intricacy and invitation converge, among the standout selections was the SAMBA Doha, boasting lobster, sesame aioli, kizami yuba and crispy rice encased in a satisfyingly crunchy warm coating. Equally enticing was the Tiger Maki, a fusion of crabmeat, prawn tempura, wasabi mayo and beetroot yogurt, elegantly drizzled with eel sauce. The nigiri on this platter was delightful too, with perfectly cooked and seasoned rice, harmonising flawlessly with the incredibly fresh fish.

Of course, by this point we were fit to burst, but we could not leave without at least a sample of the delectable desserts on offer. For me, the Ginger Ice Cream Sando, served with vanilla short bread was a clear favourite thanks to its contrasting combination of warm ginger spice and smooth rich creamy ice cream. We also enjoyed the Lemon and Yuzu Pie, a dish that encapsulates Japan’s sweet flavours, with a shard of crispy ginger meringue and drops of a thick yuzu marmalade, topped with a tangy mango sauce. What’s not to love!

It was evident that SUSHISAMBA Doha offers guests a vibrant fusion of flavours and a dynamic portfolio of plates that are fresh, spicy and decadent with culinary creativity. Here, the precision of Japan, and the passion of Peru and Brazil, seamlessly marry with a touch of theatrical flair. ✤