Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Sushi competition at Tsuru

The final five contestants
I've mentioned before my search for a new regular good-value sushi joint in London after my previous favourite, Zipangu on Little Newport Street, closed down a few years ago. Recently my favourite place to go has been Tsuru, originally with one branch near London Bridge but now expanded to open new branches at Mansion House and Bishopsgate. Tsuru is a hugely popular lunch spot for city workers, with its sleek wooden benches and beautiful sustainably sourced sushi on offer. As an out-of-town worker, I always visit in the evenings, where the lunchtime fridges are pushed back and the lights dimmed for a much more relaxed evening menu including hot dishes such as the gorgeous katsu curry. 
Recently, Tsuru held a competition to find a new idea for a sushi roll to add to their menu. Inspired by their katsu curry main dish, I suggested a chicken katsu roll, with a chicken and red pepper filling and a tempura flake coating to give the sushi roll a bit of added crunch. Jon decided to enter too, and went for a more korean-inspired recipe of slow cooked pulled pork with pak choi and ginger filling, and a black sesame seed coating. We thought nothing more of our entries until a few weeks ago when we were delighted to hear that both of our recipes had been chosen for the final! We were invited along to Tsuru Mansion House for the somewhat daunting task of making our recipes for the restaurant owners and other judges to see who would make it onto the menu.

The finalists assemble our creations
The evening was really good fun, with the guys at Tsuru having gone to a lot of effort to make sure all our different ingredients were sourced and ready, including some amazing pulled pork for Jon's recipe from Pittcue. One of the chef's demonstrated how to roll our sushi, before we nervously presented our creations to the judges and waited for the results whilst we tucked into our lovingly-made dishes. In the ended, the judges decided on two joint winning recipes, one of which was Jon's slow cooked pork dish! His recipe will be on the menu to buy at Tsuru for a month starting from now, and whoever sells the most sushi rolls will win a magnum of Bollinger and the honour of a permanent place on the menu
My crispy chicken katsu rolls!
You can find Tsuru at London Bridge, Bishopsgate or Mansion house, and online here. Please give the slow-cooked pork a try! Thanks to Emma and all at Tsuru for a great night.