There`s a great new Japanese lunch-spot in London`s Bishopsgate: not the easiest place to find but well positioned for anyone in the Liverpool Street – Old Street area. It`s called Tsuru, which is a name that some may recognise (there is already a Tsuru on the South Bank, which is popular both at lunchtime and among the after-work crowd). Although the Bishopsgate restaurant is small, it benefits from a huge outdoor area, which is protected from above by a high, atrium-like roof. I went along in the evening but I`m sure this area will become quite a suntrap later in the summer.
And the food?
I was there on launch night and was lucky enough to sample a number of dishes on the menu. The sushi is excellent – very fresh and generously cut. The high point for me was definitely the Scottish salmon, which can vary a huge amount from restaurant to restaurant (I suspect this is mainly down to the wide variety of wild and farmed salmon currently available, although I`m sure the preparation also plays a part). Tsuru`s salmon was delicious.
Also a delight was the king prawn tempura, which is extremely light and free of grease, as were the vegetarian tempura options (although, for me, these didn`t work as well as the prawn). There are plenty of vegetarian options available throughout the menu but I must admit I passed on most of these (to leave room for the wonderful fish!). Of those I did sample, I thought the asparagus spears worked particularly well. This place is definitely not exclusively for fish-eaters.
One dish I was really looking forward to was the authentic Katsu curry, not least because Tsuru`s home-made curry sauce takes no less than 8 hours to create! Its delicate blend of flavours certainly didn`t disappoint and, judging by the number of people asking for a second helping, it was somewhat of a hit among the other diners too.
I should also make a brief mention of the drinks menu. As well as mixing several of their own delicious cocktails, the team behind Tsuru has a special relationship with drinks brand, Akashi-Tai. We tried three different types of sake – all very different – but it was the fruity Daiginjo that really stood out. Its slightly spicy finish was the perfect contrast to its light, floral flavour.
This place beats any lunchtime sandwich hands down – definitely worth a visit.
Tsuru Bishopsgate is open Monday to Friday from 11am to 9pm and Saturday 12pm to 7pm.
Disclosure: For this blog post we were able to gain access to a sample product or service.
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