What’s the best place for two Japan-obsessed girls to have a long lunch and a catch up? Turns out it’s Tombo! Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending the best part of four hours talking Japan with Emily of Emily Loves Japan. Having just returned from Japan herself, she was aglow with tales of tea and kawaii, and quite frankly I could have listened to her stories all day. If you’d like to hear some of her stories too (and see her gorgeous photos), visit her blog.
I hadn’t heard of Tombo before, but am always up for trying out any Japanese cafe, deli or restaurant in London, and this is a lovely combination of all three. Situated in south London, just around the corner from South Kensington Tube station, it’s in a nice part of town, although not a part I usually frequent.
Tombo, which is Japanese for dragonfly (トンボ – a symbol of renewal and positive force) says it is ‘London’s first authentic Japanese café and delicatessen’. Specialising in healthy bento-style meals which you can design yourself from the various options available at the deli, they also offer a good selection of teas, and a mouth-watering menu of cakes and desserts. I was relieved to find that Emily was as much in the mood for eating as I was, and I think if we’d had the funds we would have tried everything on the menu! Each time something passed us by to be delivered to another table, our eyes flicked to the menu again and we were tempted.
We started with tea, which came with a delightful little sand-timer to make sure you let it brew long enough.
I found it hard to choose my lunch, as everything looked so good, but in the end I went for a salmon bento (one main with two veg, rice, and ginger costs £9.95 to eat in).
The meal was nice although, having now sampled their desserts, I think next time I would skip the main course and go straight for pudding!
Actually, before we went for pudding, we spotted some matcha milkshakes going by and decided it would be rude not to sample them…
You can see how we ended up spending so long in Tombo now, can’t you? The milkshake was heaven, and terribly naughty, but there were naughtier things still to be consumed. As soon as I saw the cakes, I knew without a doubt that mine would have to be a matcha eclair…
Emily went for matcha gateaux…
I was green tea-tastic matcha madness!
I can’t imagine what the staff at Tombo must have thought of us endlessly going up to the counter to order another course, and then reaching for our cameras to snap up every moment of matcha as soon as it arrived.
I would definitely go to Tombo again and, given how busy it got around 1.30pm, I would say it is the perfect place for Japanese-style afternoon tea – say 2.30pm/3pm. Just looking at these pictures again is making my mouth water. Tombo also do takeaway – I just wish I had reason to pass by there, but it’s sadly nowhere near my home or work.
If you want to see some truly delicious photos of the food we ate, check out Emily’s post on Emily Loves Japan.
Find out more about Tombo on their website: www.tombodeliandcafe.com.