Chicken Thigh Katsu Curry – Tsuru, Bankside

20130219_tsuru_chickenthighkatsuThe sun is bright and shining and decided to take a walk to Bankside to grab a spot of lunch. The last time I was out for a wonder, was thrilled with the myriad of food outlets at the Bankside area, just 5 minutes walk from my office. Been awhile since I had katsu curry so have to give it a go.

20130219_tsuruTsuru is a small Japanese restaurant with three outlets, 2 in the Square Mile and the last at Bankside.  The shop is roomy and spacious and can sit quite a few eat in diners. You can also see the chefs working behind the scenes via the glass panel behind the counter.

20130219_tsuru_menuIf you can read the menu, it’s filled with sushi, handrolls, salads and bento boxes. The sushi, salads and handrolls are pre made and the selection is pretty good I have to say. Definitely summer fodder.

20130219_tsuru_premadeFor the curry, you can choose from a choice of protein, from chicken breast or thigh to fish, prawn, tofu and even beef! I’m more a thigh than breast person so went with the Chicken Thigh Katsu Curry at £6.35 which is 5p cheaper than breast.

20130219_tsuru_recipetOn their menu, apparently the curry sauce takes up to 8 hours to cook! Well, that sets the expectation. Price wise, it is on par with Japanika but way more than Wasabi or Asta so I’m going to judge it against Japanika’s offering.

The chicken thigh is coated with panko rather than the normal breadcrumb which scores point on my part and as always, thigh meat is always juicier and more tender than breast. The main point of comparison will be the curry sauce I reckon. If you recall, I deemed Japanika’s version to be full bodied and beefy which I thought was the best of the 3 I have had. Tsuru’s curry sauce is a fruity rendition with a refreshing tang from apples I think. Personally, I’m not a fan of cooking with fruit but I can see how this will appeal to children and those with sweet tooth.

20130219_tsuru_chickenthighkatsu2Only complain I have is I could do with a bigger portion of rice though the generous portion of chicken thigh and big wedges of carrots and potatoes more than makes up for this. I am a rice bucket afterall.

Tsuru
4 Canvey Street
Bankside
London SE1 9AN
0207 928 2228

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Lamb Curry and Rice – Cafe Grill, Brick Lane

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Junk is back to her old big portion ways today and decided it’s been awhile since she had a curry. So it’s back to Brick Lane for lunch today. Cafe Grill is directly opposite Amar Gaon and looks like a good potential when I took a sneak peek yesterday.

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The restaurant looks like a more upmarket and modern version of Amar Gaon with 2 steam tables holding hot food and a cold one containing shish kebabs ready for the grill and fresh salads. There were quite a few hot dishes available and I was spoiled for choice. With no labels against each dish, I once again resorted to pointing and asking.

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Ended up with a lamb curry and a shredded veg dish which I’m told was bitter gourd. I was expecting my choices to be packed together with rice, all in the same box. Got worried when the 2 dishes I wanted were placed in different containers. Told the server I only have £8 in coins available as I couldn’t be bothered to bring my wallet and wanted to waste my coins. He told me my order actually totals at £9.40 but for me, he will do it for what I had. What a nice man! Perhaps he was thinking:”Oh, poor little Chinese girl…”

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What I was told was bitter gourd turned out to be shredded potatoes! But I was happy with my choice as the potatoes are cooked to the right tenderness and is mildly spiced with turmeric. The sympathetic spicing brought out the natural sweetness of potatoes. Watch out for the whole dried chillies scattered though, one bite could kill! The lamb curry was less successful I’m afraid as somehow, it’s missing the depth of flavour your would expect from a strong meat curry but at least the lamb was tender. There were gourd like slices amongst the lamb and I had to Google to figure out what gourd it was. I think it’s bottle gourd and it’s the first time I have tried it. The bottle slices taste slightly bitter and somehow has a lemony taste. I don’t mind it.

In all, an ok lunch. I did see a dry fried mackerel dish that looked pretty interesting in the hot steam table. Perhaps I will give that a try next time.

Cafe Grill
35 Brick Lane
London E1 6PU
0207 247 3838

Homemade Fried Rice and stuff from Tesco – Junk’s Manor and Tesco Canary Wharf

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It’s “flied lice” time! Ok, I know it’s nasty of me to make fun of English accents of different racial groups. But being a Chinese, I think I have the right to laugh at myself! Anyway, today’s lunch is a mashup of leftovers and additions from Tesco.

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Spent about 15 minutes wondering the aisles of Tesco trying to decide what will go well with my leftover fried rice. Decided on the Saag Aloo and the Spicy Fried Chicken Filet. The Saag Aloo was £0.75 which I thought was a bargain while the chicken was £3. So in all, quite a cheap lunch by my standards.

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The Saag Aloo was mildly spiced and had a tangy taste which was rather appetising. Definitely different from the other versions I had from other Indian takeaways. The chicken filet was indeed spicy, you can see the specks of chillies from the crumb coating. Would have been better reheated in an oven to crisp up the crumb coating but I had to settle with the microwave in my office.

As for my fried rice, I added eggs, minced chicken, sliced green beans and garnished it with crispy fried shallots. Not my best rendition of fried rice, but it’s ok. I think I still prefer my version with Spam. I’ll be sure to blog it the next time I make my special Spam Fried Rice.

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To make fried rice is relatively straight forward, but to make a good fried rice takes a bit more effort. Just Google “perfect fried rice” and see the number of hits returned! There is a even a musical about the famed fried rice.

Junk’s Manor
Opens 365 days a year (apart from leap year)
Somewhere in West London
Still no dinner party planned