2 April 2009
4 Canvey Street
London SE1 9AN
Tel: 0207 928 2228
The buffet king and I have come a long way in a week.
It seemed only a week ago we were in sunny Connemara (believe it or not) guzzling Guinness and eating heart threatening fry ups - mostly because it was.
The festivities were put on to celebrate the big man's big four zero and we had a cracking time, so a Monday night out at a Sushi restaurant couldn't have been more different, but it was an equally enjoyable evening nevertheless.
The concept of raw fish may be alien to many an Irishman, especially those with a perennial frying pan in hand, but good sushi is a real treat and Tsuru does an excellent brand of the Japanese cuisine.
It can be intimidating going into a sushi restaurant, and the last time I went to one I admit I did feel a bit bewildered, and just took a pot shot at a few dishes.
But in Tsuru the novice is as welcome as the grandmaster, and as well as myself and the buffet king, I noticed the staff were quick to step in with a helping hand when they saw customers eyeing the menu with a touch of bewilderment.
Putting ourselves at the mercy of the friendly staff we nibbled away at some Edameme, salted peas in a pod, while our range of three starters were prepared.
Regulars to this section will know I am not one to share my grub, and I will often put a protective arm around my plate should a companion be eyeing my fare. So when the Yakitori, Kara-age and Gyoza were placed between me and the king an uneasy stare off began to take place.
Eventually we divvied up the plates and while all were a treat in a variety of ways, the Yakitori was the star of the three for me. The delicious succulent chicken was set off by the soya and honey sauce, and was moreish. The silver medal went to the Kara-age, the fried chicken that were coated with a marinate of soy, mirin and ginger were a delight.
A bowlful of either dish would have been gobbled up by us gannets, but it was a delicious start to what was set to come. The third starter of a dim-sum type Gyoza would normally gain rave reviews, but on this occasion was outshone by its rival dishes.
You can't come to a sushi restaurant without trying some of the raw fish it has to offer, and to be good it has to be super fresh and the rice has to be super sticky.
The platter of sushi included scallops, salmon, mackerel and yellow fin tuna amongst others and it was hard to pick fault with anything on offer. There was a lovely fresh feeling as the range of seafood disappeared down our gullets, and each variety of fish presented offered a different but pleasing sensation.
For those who may wish to come along to this lovely venue, but aren't quite ready to dive into the world of raw fish at the first attempt, then I can also recommend the Katsu curry.
We opted for the chicken variety and the thick juicy sauce just melted on the tongue. It will be a more familiar dish to those who may have sampled Indian or Malaysian fare and I can safely say it was one of the best Katsus I had tasted on my travels. Absolutely top drawer.
To embrace the Japanese pub culture, where you eat and drink apparently, we sampled some dark Ashahi, which was sold as stout-like. Having spent a weekend in Galway, both our palettes were well accustomed to what is a good pint of the black stuff, and to be honest it was nothing like stout, but it was delicious.
Instead it reminded me of the dark German lagers that I have tasted in the past, and guzzled to the gallon, and if we had remained where we were I could have happily supped away at the ale all evening.
All in all it was a top evening; one small criticism is the furniture which was easy on the eye but not so nice on the buttocks. Being closer to the big four zero mark than we care to mention , we eventually clambered off our high stools without aid and we promised we would come back to Canvey Street to a thoroughly pleasant venue.
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