Posts Tagged ‘Sushi’

Tsuru Bishopsgate/Spitalfields

I love working near Spitalfields market, partly because it means my commute is short, and mostly because the food options are about ten thousand times better than they were in Canary Wharf.  Still, I’m nothing if not a complainer, and for a while I’ve bemoaned the lack of good sushi options for lunch.  Itsu is OK in a pinch.  Japanika isn’t bad but there’s no seating.

A few months ago, I was excited to learn on “Good for Lunch” that Tsuru Sushi had opened a branch at 201 Bishopsgate.  Bizarrely, despite keeping an eye out for Tsuru while walking on Bishopsgate numerous times, I couldn’t find it.

So here’s my tip for those in search of sushi when near Liverpool Street station:  despite the restaurant’s Bishopsgate address, Tsuru’s entrance is actually off Primrose Street, and even from Primrose Street, it’s easy to miss.  You’re more likely to see the Pret a Manger next door because for some reason, Tsuru has eschewed proper signage.

salmon-avocado rolls and prawn tempura rolls (background)

salmon-avocado rolls in the foreground (£3.95) and prawn tempura rolls in the background (£4.25)

In any case, Tsuru is worth searching out.  The ready-made rolls always taste freshly made.  In fact, a couple of times, the prawn tempura in the prawn tempura rolls was still warm and crispy.  Yum.  Another plus:  the rice isn’t stone hard/refrigerated to within an inch of its life.  For ready-made stuff, Tsuru’s rolls are  good.

pork katsu curry (£6.10)

I should confess I’m not always eating healthy when I drop by Tsuru.  Pork katsu curry hits all the buttons – crispy, relatively grease-free, and generous amounts of slightly-sweet curry and rice.  You can order it in chicken, too, but given the choice, I’ll take pig every time.

chicken teriyaki (£6.35)

Chicken teriyaki (looking kind of gross in the above picture, I must say) is comprised of thigh meat, which is my fave if I have to eat chicken.  It’s not bad, but when I’m ordering a hot lunch, the katsu curries always win me over.

Tsuru’s outdoor seating on a nice day is shady and pleasant, and there’s plenty of indoor seating as well.  For a quick, inexpensive and tasty lunch during the work week, Tsuru is a great option.  You can even get tap water served in a proper glass.

Tsuru Sushi, 201 Bishopsgate (but accessible only via Primrose Street, look for it next to a Pret a Manger), EC2M 3UG; 0207 377 1166; closest tube station: Liverpool Street Station

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salmon sashimi bowl at Ten Ten Tei in Soho

salmon sashimi and roe don (bowl) at Ten Ten Tei in Soho

For a couple of weeks, Jon had been telling me we should go to Ten Ten Tei. He works near Covent Garden and apparently Ten Ten Tei has become a lunch fave of his. By way of background, I should explain that Jon isn’t the world’s biggest fan of sushi, mostly because he often feels hungry soon afterwards. But lingering post-meal hunger isn’t an issue at Ten Ten Tei, which offers a lot of food for the money.

prawn and veg tempura at Ten Ten Tei

Take, for example, my order of the “tempura set dinner,” which at £19 was easily one of the most expensive items on the menu. The prawn tempura was pretty tasty – sweet prawn; crispy, greaseless panko-crusted exterior. The veg tempura, a lot less impressive, with a somewhat-soggy flour batter-based crust. But check out all the food that accompanied my tempura:

tuna and salmon sashimi

tuna and salmon sashimi

A bowl of tuna and salmon sashimi, which tasted firm and fresh, and while not the silkiest, most flavorful sashimi I’ve ever had, it was better than what I get for lunch at Itsu by a mile.

agedashi tofu

agedashi tofu

Agedashi tofu. Another accompaniment to my tempura dinner. Crispy outside; creamy, soft inside. Satisfying stuff.

chicken teriyaki

chicken teriyaki

Chicken teriyaki. Also came with my tempura dinner. Moist, dark meat with a light, simple teriyaki sauce (no gloppy, over-sugary grossness in sight, thank goodness). Oh, and I can’t forget the miso soup. Also part of my set dinner.

Really, Jon could’ve shared just my dinner alone, but instead, Jon ordered himself two main courses: first, a salmon-sashimi-and-roe bowl for £10 (pictured at top). Simple, fresh and satsifying. I hadn’t eaten so much salmon roe since our trip to Russia last year, and I’d missed the way the roe bursts in your mouth with saltiness and creaminess. How great to have a bowl of the stuff.

And then Jon also ordered himself a prawn tempura udon soup, which was, of course, enormous. And at just £6, a meal itself.

Ten Ten Tei isn’t the best sushi of your life, but I think it ranks up there for the title of “best value sushi” of your life. Our tab for a ton of food and a few beers came to £20 a person. We could easily have left with an even more modest bill if we hadn’t over-ordered.

Everything we tried at Ten Ten Tei tasted fresh; the service was helpful; and holy cow, the portions were generous. If you find yourself in Soho looking for good-value sushi, this is the place for you.

Ten Ten Tei, 56 Brewer Street, W1R 3PJ; 020 7287 1738; closest tube station: Piccadilly Circus
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