A mild panic set in on the way to lunch today. After seeing the words ‘katsu sando’ and ‘Tsuru’ used in many blogs and forums in relation to the best sandwiches London has to offer, I set out to hunt down this infamous beast.
201 Bishopsgate is the address – after reaching 199, all I could see was an All Bar One. Had it shut down? Had I missed my chance? Had a corporate chain taken over yet another London premises? What was the point of continuing with this blog if I can’t even get to the subject of my first post?! Then I saw a sign saying it was around the back in the Plaza, I pulled myself together, and stopped being such a drama queen.
From the outside, it looks like a very nondescript glass fronted shop, the kind you’re likely to see for a Pret (next door obviously), with a few wooden high chairs and tables outside. Inside, it struck me as Busaba-esque, with a counter to order as you walk in and a small sushi selection on the side.
I ordered the katsu sando. There are quite a few choices to pick from, including ground beef, salmon etc. I plumped for chicken thigh as I think they stay moister than breast when frying. So, fried chicken in a sandwich – what could go wrong? At Tsuru, not much. The thigh was perfectly fried – super crunchy panko on the outside, juicy inside, and was room temperature, which meant the bread did not disintegrate in the steam and slide down my sleeve. Bog standard white is used; not the most exciting choice, but pretty perfect for this. That springy, soft Japanese bread would have been better, but this was still good. Finely shredded cabbage instead of lettuce is an inspired choice, it was robust enough to stay crunchy in the generous squirt of (slightly too sweet) tonkatsu sauce and (Kewpie?) mayo.
Out of the all too regular fear of a sandwich not being enough to get me to dinner time, I also picked up a small salmon sushi box. Normally, I avoid refrigerated sushi like the plague as it turns the rice grains into little bullets. However, the ‘fridge’ was barely below room temperature so I took a chance. It was actually pretty decent; you could tell it was all handmade, the rice a nice loose density, and the salmon was fairly good quality – not as fresh and firm textured as I’d like, but I’d recommend it if you need a quick sushi fix.
Chicken thigh katsu sando
Mess Factor – 4 The slaw is packed in and the sauce abundant, roll your sleeves up
Value – 3 For a made to order sandwich in the city, £4 isn’t too bad
Taste 4 Ticks all the right boxes for what you want from a sandwich
Speed – 5 Construction began the moment I ordered, sandwich in hand in less than 60 seconds
Salmon sushi box
Mess Factor – 1 It’s sushi, what could be neater?
Value – 2 pretty small portion, uramaki were tiny
Taste – 3 salmon not the best quality, but good taste and rice
Speed – 5 Pre-packed