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Thursday, 27 October 2011
Tsuru, Sushi Restaurant, Mansion House
I'm not generally a big fan of sushi but at Tsuru there is nothing not to like. Three friends are on a mission to offer fresh Japanese food with sustainability and authenticity very much in mind. Now three Tsuru restaurants are open in London, I went to try out the Mansion House branch.
It is a petite venue with a lovely seating area outside for warmer months and tidy casual furnishing inside. We sat at a nice light window table for an early supper, despite being half empty the place had a nice relaxed atmosphere, perfect for a Friday night girlie catch up. To start, we ordered a few dishes to graze on: the vegetable gyoza, free-range chicken kara-age and a bowl of edamame with chilli. Our verdict on these was very positive, delicious gyoza arrived piping hot, perfectly crispy outside with succulent steamed vegetables inside. I was a little disappointed the edamame were served cold as I much prefer them hot, however the real treat for me was the chicken kara-age, chicken goujon-like but with a much more exciting crackling crunchy batter and a vibrant garlic ginger flavour, very moreish.
Next a selection of the sushi was delivered, fresh and beautifully presented. I don’t eat fish so had to rely solely on my friend’s opinion (she is a sushi fanatic so is trustworthy on the subject!) She was particularly impressed with the yellow fin crisp roll: 8 pieces of salmon, asparagus and tempura crisps uramaki topped with tuna sashimi and flash seared with garlic oil. It wasn’t on our original must-have list, but our waiter recommended it, and it was obvious why. It came plated up like a work of art, gorgeous colours carefully composed, apparently it was very tasty too. The salmon and avocado is my friend's favourite - she felt the nori (the black seaweed paper used in the sushi) was a little thick and tough, aside from that it seemed to be a hit.
For my main, I tried the Chicken Katsu which was described to me as 'the best in London'. It was scrumptious - a fruity slightly spicy curry sauce with crispy breadcrumbed chicken breast and a lovely accompaniment of crunchy salad. I inevitably compared this dish to the Wagamama version and in the Katsu competition I have to admit that Tsuru wins, the sauce is much healthier and richer tasting and the meat used at Tsuru is all free range.
For dessert, we shared the chocolate brownie with vanilla ice-cream. The cake arrived steaming and was lovely with the vanilla ice-cream. To accompany the sweet pudding we drank soothing Jasmine tea. It is served in lovely ceramic teapots and is made from handrolled pearls of jasmine leaves, it is comforting and cleanses the palate.
For all those sushi mad girls out there, Tsuru is a must try restaurant. Very reasonably priced and deliciously fresh and healthy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more branches on London's streets soon.