We Love Local: Tombo
Thursday, February 12, 2015 by
Tell us a little bit about Tombo?
Tombo - Japanese for dragonfly, a symbol of renewal and positive force, is London’s first authentic Japanese café and delicatessen. Located in the heart of the South Kensington museum district, Tombo offers a new experience in modern Japanese food and the art of tea & matcha.
We are a family run business specialising in healthy Japanese eating and green teas. Our foundation is based on six key ingredients that we believe are essential in a healthy well balanced diet & lifestyle: Tombo’s healthy 6 ingredients are seaweed, miso, tofu, multigrain rice, sesame seeds & green tea/matcha. We have also teamed up with a leading tea estate on the foothills of Mt.Fuji, Shizuoka to launch our own line of Tombo Teas.
When and how did Tombo first begin?
Tombo was created by Colin & Manami Endo-Sloley. With previous experience in fashion retail, having had 2 successful stores in South Kensington & Notting Hill and being creative director for a large Japanese department store, Manami’s passion for authentic healthy Japanese food and tea (which she often struggled to find in London) lead to the opening of Tombo.
Tell us a little about some of the changes that were made for Tombo’s makeover?
An extended menu offering a variety of dishes from customized bento boxes to sushi and a selection of salads such as the ever-popular Hijiki Seaweed Salad was one of the major changes.
We have introduced a specialised tea and dessert menu which is heavily inspired by matcha and green tea – think matcha lattes, sundaes and matcha brownies! We also offer a unique take on the traditional afternoon tea that includes bite size sushi, cakes and macaroons all accompanied with tea & sparkling sake! Our new matcha ceremony tea set is the traditional way to make & drink matcha and has been going on for 400 years in Japan.
The décor and colour scheme has changed to create a more intimate and cosy atmosphere. We wanted our customers to feel comfortable and be able to relax, away from the hustle and bustle of the museums and shopping.
What do you think makes Tombo unique?
It’s difficult to find authentic Japanese cuisine in a casual setting that also offers healthy eating at a reasonable price – this is something that Tombo has managed to achieve. Of course we still offer the more comfort dishes such as katsu curry (some say it’s the best in London) but we were keen to provide Japanese home style cooking, nothing too fancy but simple, clean and healthy. I think one of our customers summed it up perfectly recently, a Japanese businessman who often comes to London for work said that he loves Tombo compared to other Japanese places in London because it reminds him of his wife’s cooking at home. I think that is a big compliment coming from a native and the sort of feeling and idea we strive to achieve. What makes us unique is that we are matcha & green tea specialists - nowhere else in London offers such a wide variety of matcha drinks & desserts… if you are a matcha lover than we are the people to come to!
What kind of atmosphere can patrons expect when coming into Tombo?
Casual, relaxed and welcoming. A place where you can people watch at the front or hide away from the hustle and bustle in the back, to have a good catch up with a friends or chill out over a cup of matcha/green tea.
What kind of food can people expect?
Healthy authentic Japanese food that you would expect in a typical Japanese family home. Simple, healthy and delicious!
Do you have a favourite dish from the new menu?
That’s a tricky one as it depends on how we are feeling but for Manami it’s probably the miso salmon bento box followed by a matcha tea set. Colin’s is the temari sushi set and a cup of Bonsai genmaicha with matcha. Louis’ is a bento box unless it’s freezing outside then a katsu curry is his perfect winter warmer!
At Douglas & Gordon, we love local. Why do you love Kensington?
You couldn’t really ask for more on your door step in this borough! At one end you have the park and the amazing museums, at the other there’s quirky mews and squares with beautiful terraced houses and gardens. The vast amount of shops and variety of restaurants is fantastic too! There is always a place to suit your mood in Kensington.
Do you have any favourite spots around Kensington?
We love the Chelsea physic garden and also the Pigs Ear pub is a particular favourite of ours.
To find out more about this chic delicatessen in the heart of South Kensington, visit http://www.tombodeliandcafe.com/ .