Feel like having a poké? No, not a poke but a poké? I’ll tell you where.
The restaurant Tombopoké will make this hawaiin-style sushi bowl with sliced raw fish for you. They also make superbly delicious Donburi – a traditional Japanese dish served warm with fish, meat or vegetables – over rice and assorted other ingredients, and both, are, for a better word, lovely, and also comforting.
Tombo, with locations in Fitzrovia and South Kensington, as well as in Soho which is the branch me and a friend went to on a quiet Sunday night. Located on D’Arbly Street, a street famous for the queues that form all day outside of The Breakfast Club, D’Arbly Street has also suddenly changed overnight from a street with lots of random shops to a gourmet lover’s paradise with posh restaurants such as Blanchette, Copita, and Bukowski Grill. Tombo is right in the thick of this and looks like an unassuming cafe from the outside with two tables and a long counter, but don’t let this put you off as there is a large downstairs dining room, decorated Japanese style, that’s a nice quiet place to sample the items from the small menu.
If you like raw fish, then Poké is for you. If you like cooked food, the Donburi is highly recommended. The Gyü Don – thinly sliced beef and onions, cooked in soy sauce with red ginger slices and shichimi spice – was tender, tasteful and terrific! I couldn’t keep my friends fork out of my bowl – he liked it very much as well! And at £11.95 – you get what you pay for – quantity and high quality! His Teriyaki Chicken Don, at only £8.55, included large baked chicken chunks in teriyaki sauce, with salad and sesame seeds – it’s a dish that I would order next time as it was very good. Other Donburi dishes on the menu include Salmon avo Don (£11.50) and Tofu Aubergine (£7.95).
Tombo’s Poké bowl dishes let you pick your base – black & white sushi rice or courgette noodle – and then chose a main which includes salmon, tuna, or salmon and tuna mix, or tofu, and a sauce as well, all served in a large bowl. And as a bonus, also included with all their mains, you can add additional toppings for minimal charge, including avocado, shallots, tempura crumbs, japanese pickles, and much much more.
Tombo’s menu includes Japanese tapas and sides in which we ordered a few – and enjoyed the Sriracha peas, Kimchi and the Hijiki Seaweed Salad (with edamame beans) all were very good, and all not more than £2.65 – excellent value as nibbles either before or with your dinner. Other sides on offer include Miso Soup, Salmon and Tartare, among others.
I would highly recommend their famous matcha soft serve ice cream. It is creamy, cold and calculatingly cool. I would go back for this next time I go by the cafe….so so so good, even on a cold night! I had a pot (at only £3.80) but they also serve it as a sundae (£5.50) or as matcha monaka (ice cream sandwich!). Other desserts include their very long list of cakes, including the one that my dining companion ordered – the Matcha White Chocolate Tart – at £4.10 – very rich, and the white chocolate shredded chunks, sprinkled on top – made for a naughty dessert for the person with rich tastes!
We were served by Henry, the very nice manager, and all the dishes he recommended we tried, and he has excellent taste. He also recommended us to try their specialty teas – and we had the Jasmine tea and the 3-year bancha tea, both very nice and soft, with flavors I had never drank before (only £2.60 a cup). Of course they also serve Saké and Japanese craft beer, along with wine and various other drinks.
You know that when you go to a restaurant and say that you want to go back again, well Tombo is definitely one that I want to revisit. I would really like to work my way through the menu….and at these very affordable prices it’s easy to do so.
Photos from Samphire Communications
Review by Tim Baros