Wine and sushi at Tsuru in the City
When eating sushi, wine is not most peoples drink of choice. By why not? What if I told you I prefer wine with Japanese food or, more specifically, sushi and wine? Why? How? Where? Well, it shouldn’t surprise you that I have wine with just about every meal but wine and sushi can be perfect dinner partners for everyone.
Last year I went to a food and wine matching night at Tsuru sushi at Bankside near London Bridge. I thought it was a brilliant idea to match sushi with wine. People often think that it’s near impossible to match Japanese food and wine but Tsuru had done a good job of it and it was a fun evening all round. You can read about the evening and watch the video here.
Forward one year and Tsuru have expanded to a new location in Bishopsgate, The City of London. I went to their opening the other night and was curious to see how the whole food and wine matching was going and if they had stuck to the idea of promoting wine with Japanese food. Happily, I can say that wine is still an integral part of their menu and not only that but Tsuru is striving to make good wine affordable to their customers. Too many restaurants in London feel the need to gouge the customer on the wine list but luckily Tsuru is not one of them. The most expensive wine topping out at £32 for a Macon Verze from the biodynamic producer Domaine Leflaive in Burgundy and Philloponant champagne priced at £34.50, might even be cheaper then in the shops.
Their wine list is short but packed with wines that can show off the best against those sometimes very strong Japanese flavours. The list mostly sticks to French wines but does stray into German and Italian terroir now and then. The 2007 Sybille Kuntz Estate dry Riesling is a wine that matches very well with the sweetness of teriyaki while still being able to take on salmon sushi dunked in soy and wasabi. It says trocken/dry on the label and it most certainly is- ripe, fruity nose but very dry on the palate, citrusy and marked acidity make this an excellent food wine. Priced at £24 per bottle it’s a restaurant bargain.
The house white, Dom de Ricaud 2007 (£15 per bottle) is from Entre-Deux-Mers, an often overlooked region next to Bordeaux, producing some excellent value for money semillon/sauvignon blanc blends. The 2007 is quite ripe by now, perhaps having lost some of the acidity you would expect from this region. A newer vintage will show better, more of fresh citrus and a touch of honey rather then the ripe fruit that was coming thru, this was still a wine that can work across the full spectrum of the menu and doesn’t get in the way of the food on the plate.
Tsuru is not all about the white wines, they also have a small selection of reds that pair will pair with dishes like the spicy tuna or the chicken curry katsu. The reds tend to be on the lighter side, including the house red, a Cotes de Brouilly from Gorges de Vionery 2007. I love Beaujolais cru and this one is no exception. Light and juicy red fruits but enough of a tannic backbone and accompanying acidity to keep it from being a flabby, pointless excuse of a wine – phew!
I’m glad to see that Tsuru is keeping up with the wine selection but they also have beer and sake available for you traditionalists as well as a small exotic cocktail menu using Japanese liquors. The food at Tsuru is some very tasty sushi and as reasonably priced as the wine. If you work near Liverpool St/Bishopsgate and are tired of the same old offerings, head over to Tsuru for a satisfying meal and don’t forget to order wine!