So what the hell is crossushi? It’s not a croissant wrapped in seaweed right? No, but boy is it interesting.
Also called a California croissant, it’s actually a croissant stuffed with smoked salmon, wasabi, pickled ginger and nori seaweed. The croissant is topped with furikake, a dry Japanese seasoning usually made with dried fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar and salt. Oh, and there’s also soy sauce, which is served on the side.
This French-Japanese fusion eat has been around a while on the West Coast of America and comes from Mr Holmes Bakehouse, which has locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seoul. It has gotten mixed reviews on Instagram, but a lot of people dig it.
The whacky idea is courtesy of Mr Holmes Bakehouse's Ry Stephen, who was hit by inspiration after shopping in the Asian aisle at the supermarket. He has described it as a fun way to use pastry, marrying old techniques with new. In fact, trial and error in getting the two combinations baking well together made Stephen change his entire croissant recipe.
Crossushi isn't the first strange beast to come out of Mr Holmes Bakehouse, which also popularised the cruffin: a croissant and muffin combo. The quirky bakery updates its menu four times a year, with an ethos of pushing the limits of pastries. Other unusual menu items include a root vegetable Danish with crumbled goats cheese and a bread pudding with a savoury custard base, chives and gruyere cheese.
While there is no sign of crossushi in the UK yet, there is a continuing love affair with Japanese cuisine over here, and croissants have been around forever.
Weird food combinations are also nothing new in Britain, and there are a bunch that go well together – the classic example is Heston’s white chocolate and caviar. Often these create social-media hype for a short period of time and then fizzle out.
So what’s behind these multicultural mash-ups, and do things like crossushi have long term appeal?
This to me seems like the next logical evolution to the sushi doughnut that has been doing the rounds in social media for some time now. There is reward behind the risk businesses take with the odd combinations. If they work out well, there is a high chance for viral marketing, which brings in large bursts of short-term profit.
But long term is a difficult ask. It relies on the business to follow up with other unusual food to bring the same crowd back again – this is the area that seems to struggle, because it is a fickle crowd that is always looking for the next thing.
Personally I would advise caution. If you use this type of marketing, either treat it as a one-off boost to the business or invest heavily in innovation to keep that crowd around.