Those who know where to find good beer and good times have probably already stumbled into the unassuming Volunteer Tavern for a pint of cask ale and a decent roast (if it’s Sunday).
They have now turned the kitchen over to pop-ups, a trend I can get on board with, and their current residents are the fabulous Tsukemono who specialise in tasty Japanese food. I first came across these guys at the BS5 Market where I grabbed some lunch and thoroughly enjoyed some Japanese fried chicken with mayo and pickles.
A picture of me being joyful about having chicken.
I popped over on a Friday lunchtime and found the pub to be full of diners and managed to nab a window seat by the bar. I ordered a portion of fried pickles, a dangerous choice as many offer these but most serve up something floppy and wet that get left on the plate. I also went for the Katsu- Kare Don, a pork cutlet on a bowl of rice, katsu curry sauce and pickles.
I was also joined by this good boy.
The pickles came out first and they were presented in a little cardboard bowl. They were generously drizzled in a saricha mayo, fried in a light panko crumb and looked very tasty. They weren’t oily and kept their punchy, sour pickled taste whilst also staying turgid and offering crunch. Definitely a good shout by me to order these, burger bars offering similar, take note and take a lesson please.
My main appeared soon after and I was very pleased with the generous offer. Everything was presented beautifully as you can see, an Instagramers dream with those pickles and Tsukemono’s signature pink lotus root on the side. The pickle (Fukujintsuke) is made with cucumber, ginger, beetroot,, aubergine, daikon and kombu and provided a moreish, crunchy bite with the sweetness making the katsu curry really sing. I polished off the bowl and felt like I had really won at lunch that day.
These guys will be in the kitchen until the end of October and I suggest all of you head over for at least lunch or dinner. The dinner menu expands into the realms of Okonomiyaki (a real favourite of mine, a Japanese potato and cabbage pancake topped with mayo, hot sauce and bento fish flakes), Nasu-Katsu Aubergine and plenty of pickles to munch on whilst waiting. I defiantly want to come back for the “Kimchi Scotch Egg”. They also cater to veggies and vegans so there isn’t an excuse for you not to come!
Find them on FB here