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by Krista

Tsuru glasses 

4 Canvey Street

Date of Last Visit: Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

The Victims: Too many to mention

The Background: Every so often, I get invited on a PR thingamajig. I'm never quite sure what to do. Because you know, I've spent (and continue to spend) a lot of time with economists and, well, there's no such thing as a free lunch.

Would you accept a free meal? Free drinks?

And if you did accept the free stuff, would you feel obligated to write a good review?

Think about it.

So, I'm invited to a sushi and wine tasting at Tsuru on the South Bank. You know I love sushi and wine, so it was really hard for me to say no.

I just hoped they wouldn't f**k it up.

The Entrance: As usual, I am one of the first ones there. Why people have to be fashionably late, I don't understand. Someone brings me a beer and Denise from The Wine Sleuth and I catch up.

Eventually, we take our seats and we're guided through six wines that Damien Tillson, the Deputy Director of Wine at Sotheby's, has selected for our meal. What I really liked most of all about the evening was when they described their markup policy on wine. It's like 30%. That's NOTHING. Restaurants in London don't do this!!! They all charge a fortune. In New York, 30% markups are the next big thing. (Based on my very small sample size.) So Tsuru is a little bit ahead of its time for a London restaurant, and for this fact alone, they earn some points in my review.

The Wine: Of the six wines we tasted, I liked these two wines the best:

Sancerre, Domaine Bailly-Reverdy, Loire France, 2007. Sauvignon Blanc. This one was vaguely peanuty, buttery, and yet still flinty.

La Tunella, Colli Orentali del Friuli, Italy, 2005. Cabernet Franc. It was green and complex and tasted of cedar wood, in the best possible way possible.

The Food: Here's the bad part. After enjoying so much wine, I wish I could say I loved the restaurant's food. I didn't, and that makes me feel like an ungrateful guest. I thought it was all just, well, good.

Tsuru sushi 

The Verdict: I liked the concept of Tsuru. They use line-caught yellow-fin tuna, which is nice. (They don't say where from, however.) And their salmon is fresh from the Shetland Islands. Their chicken is free range from the West Country. (As an American, I have no idea where that is, but it sounds good.) Their wine is an EXCELLENT value–but they don't given themselves any credit for it, based on the menu I took home with me.  

If I were them, and if I were wearing my marketing hat, I'd make a much bigger deal about how small their wine markups are. Because nobody else is. That's for sure.

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Douglas April 1, 2009 - 10:13 am

A really engaging entry, Krista. I was also invited, but was actually enjoying a free meal at The Waterside Inn. (That’s a joke, by the way!) As you say, there’s no such thing as a free meal. I’d like to check out Tsuru’s wine list, although good value intoxication isn’t a substitute for super food.

Gourmet chick April 1, 2009 - 10:21 am

Good write up Krista. I think I liked the food a bit more than you did but I did not think the sushi was that good especially given the complete absence of wasabi

Lizzie April 1, 2009 - 11:51 am

Shame you didn’t enjoy the food. I was there last night for a sake tasting and I thought the food was great. I’d like to go back for a lunch service to give it a proper try though.

marmitelover April 8, 2009 - 11:48 am

I loved the food but still not convinced about the wine and sushi matching. I still prefer sake with sushi.

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