After launching over the summer in London’s Soho, Citizen Carl was invited to check out Tombo’s take on Japanese inspired Hawaiian sushi bowls.
Tucked away on a D’Arblay Street, a Soho side road just a stone’s throw from Oxford Circus, Tombo transports you into a brave new world loved by locals and raw food enthusiasts. The contemporary Japanese café has just a smattering of tables and a large counter where the action happens. But it’s the range of mouth-watering food on offer that immediately draws hungry visitors in.
Specialising in poké – colourful sushi bowls fusing fresh Hawaiian flavours with authentic Japanese ingredients – various options are available at Tombo to make the most of the culinary concoctions. All dishes either have a courgette noodle or black and white rice base. This is topped with fresh ingredients such as salmon, tuna, prawn or chicken, with classic Japanese extras including edamame, avocado, tempura crumbs, nori and seeds.
We test drove the Salmon Avo Lux, with salmon, wasabi soy, avocado, edamame, salmon caviar and nori. Packed with flavour incorporating a feel-good factor from the nutrient-dense ingredients, this is a meal in a bowl you could enjoy every day. For those who enjoy a little experimentation, there’s also a ‘build your own’ poké option. Mix tofu with Ponzu-Yuzu citrus soy, and spring onions with chia seeds, crispy shallots and kimchee if the heart so desires!
While the poké is a welcome addition to London’s foodie scene, Tombo is also a firm authority on matcha in the city. Matcha is a finely ground powder of green tea carefully shade-grown before being harvested. Tombo is owned by a Japanese family and is run by the son, Louis Sloley. They supply Tombo with their own matcha, grown in the foothills of Mount Fuji. As well as supplying their own restaurant, a number of other high profile restaurants in London use their matcha, including Maple & Fitz, Crosstown Doughnuts, Kurobuta and Jason Atherton’s Sosharu.
Tombo’s selection of matcha drinks is another draw for tea and health food enthusiasts. There are shots of matcha tea, hot or cold matcha lattes with the options of added cinnamon or vanilla, and matchiatos. We went all out and tasted the matcha frappé milkshake with almond milk – cool, creamy and the most innovative and refreshing tea drink we’ve tasted.
There are even matcha-infused desserts for post-dinner treats, from soft serve sundaes to the matcha brownie.
Many would think of Tombo as a lunchtime spot, feeding the local population of hungry workers and shoppers, but Tombo is surprisingly busy during the early evening too. It’s ideal for a casual, good value and healthy meal out prior to a night on the town in central London. Next time we’re in the neighbourhood, we’ll certainly be first in line.
Tombo Poké & Matcha Bar
28 D’Arblay Street, London W1F 8EW
+44 (0)207 734 1333
Open Monday to Sunday, 11:30 to 20:30
Website: Tombo Poké & Matcha Bar
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