Restaurants, Japanese Brompton
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(12user reviews)
19 Love It
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Tombo means 'dragonfly' in Japanese and this South Ken establishment splits its focus between deli and cafe. It serves Japanese favourites such as teri-yakitori, donburi rice bowl and katsu curry, in a calm and relaxed atmosphere and with the accent on authenticity. You can create your own bento box at the deli counter to takeaway, or opt for the eat-in evening menu, which includes sushi tartare, prawn katsu and gyoza dumplings. New dishes are regularly added to ring the changes.


Venue name: Tombo
Address: 29 Thurloe Place
Transport: Tube: South Kensington
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Average User Rating

4.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:3
  • 4 star:8
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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I am often around South Kensington museum area but always at a loss of where to eat around there apart from the usual museum cafes. However I was introduced to this delightful little Japanese place which is little known treasure and secret amongst the students studying in the vicinity. The Japanese food is actually really authentic with a great range of Sushi Bento sets. The Don Buri and the Udon dishes are so good. We opted for the the Salmon Miso Don Buri and the Kitsune Udon noodle bowl which i thought might be too plain but the dashi broth with sweet tofu, wakame and chives were just an accumulation of amazing flavours in one bowl and hit the spot. This place is also well known for its matcha desserts and green teas and the choice is quite extensive too. They don’t accept reservations the space is fairly small but there is a fair amount of seating and service was polite and prompt. The price is decent and I will certainly be back to try more especially their tempting looking desserts.


A charming, character-ful little place with an assortment of matcha drinks and simple Japanese food. It won't leave your wallet full, though. 


Tombo is one of my favourite restaurants to go to when I’m in need of some authentic and hearty Japanese food. I first tried it during my freshman year of university and fell in love instantly! Not only do they have delicious main dishes, but they do really good matcha green tea desserts too.

The Matcha Soft Serve in a cone is probably one of their more famous items – with an array of Instagram pictures on their geo-tag. I could taste the graininess from the matcha powder used but it wasn’t overwhelming nor too grainy to the point where it left a dryness in my mouth. It also wasn’t very sweet, which is just the way I like it – there’s something oddly nice about the bitterness of matcha. I had mine in a waffle cone, which was pretty good too – crunchy and buttery – but you can also order it in a cup.

As for the main dishes, my favourites include anything with sashimi in it. I’ve tried their Salmon & Tuna Sashimi Don, which I believe they no longer serve now but have even better sashimi options. I really liked it because the sashimi tasted so fresh! I liked that the sushi rice was also multi-grain, which gave the bowl some added colour and that there was a good amount of pickled ginger. I find that there is never enough wasabi given but I do like my sashimi with a good kick so I like a lot of wasabi. The serving size is reasonable, as the rice does fill you up quickly but I do find they could include a little more sashimi slices.

The other sashimi don I’ve tried is their Salmon Sashimi Don. This comes with slices of salmon sashimi, salmon tartare, avocado and cucumber and topped with salmon roe. Once again, there is always a good amount of pickled ginger but never enough wasabi in my opinion. In this don, I like that even though it is all salmon fish, they’ve included different ‘types’ to create variety. You get the big slices of salmon sashimi along with small cubes of salmon tartare and then a burst of juiciness from biting into the salmon roe. The slices of avocado adds a good creamy texture to the dish. It’s also a pretty filling item because of the amount of rice they give you, which is good because it’s a substantial meal and lasts you through the day!

Today, I got the chance to try their Unagi Don Rice Bowlbecause I’d been craving some good Japanese unagi. Something about that sweet sauce that they season the eel with is so addicting! It gives the eel a lovely flavour and it complements the texture of the eel well – it’s such a simple dish paired with Japanese rice and some vegetables on the side. As I had this as a takeaway order, it was slightly cheaper than the price shown on the menu and given that it was a Saturday afternoon, they were pretty quick to get my order done. I didn’t have to wait long before it was ready, which was a bonus because I was rather hungry already. Like the other two rice bowls, I found there to be too much rice for my appetite.

Overall, a great restaurant for Japanese food that I’d definitely and often do recommend to my friends and family. The staff are always so nice and professional, you feel welcomed when you dine in with them and even with a takeaway they’re efficient. The restaurant itself in South Kensington is small, so be prepared to wait for a table if you come at peak periods and on the weekends. I have yet to try their Poké Bar in Soho though, but hopefully the new year will give the opportunity to!

Anna Sofia T

Amazing japanise food! Good atmosphere. Remember to book or go there early cause it is quite small.

Jolynn K

This place is heaven for all matcha lovers (of course, myself included!).

They have a wide selection of matcha desserts and my favorite is none other than the Matcha Sundae - Matcha ice cream and azuki (red bean) paste (insanely good combination!) with matcha brownies, topped with matcha powder and has granola as its base. Just perfect! I tried one of their competitor's Matcha sundae and it's really no competition, Tombo's is so matcha better. ;)

Besides, their Japanese green tea is fragrant and authentic. Funny enough, I'm always so carried away by ordering desserts that I never had their Japanese food (reserving that final star till I try them out), will definitely check out their newly opened Soho branch soon! I highly recommend this place for tea after a visit at the Natural History Museum/ V&A museum.


I love Japanese food and Tombo is a great option for a Japanese lunch in South Kensington. It was unfortunate that they had no chicken left when i wanted to order the chicken katsu, so we had to go with salmon. My friend ordered the salmon bowl and it looked amazing. We ended up sharing a matcha strawberry cream roll and that was the best part of the meal.  

Matilda Egere-Cooper

This place is always packed, but for good reason. If you're looking for a really healthy take on Japanese food (which is already pretty healthy enough), this is where you go. They're all multigrain rice, supersalads and matcha everything, and for the most part, it makes you feel good. My only qualm is that I wish they were a bit more generous with the condiments (there's nothing offered on the tables so I do feel kinda guilty to ask, like I'm killing their vibe), otherwise it's still a fab place to drop-in. And their macaroons are wonderful.


casual Japanese bar in South Kensington, limited seating and service can be slow when busy but nice array of noodles, bento boxes and sushi. The desserts are particularly good – white chocolate or pandan cake, matcha tea ice creams and Mochi to name a few.  

Cheeky Bellini



A favourite place to drop by for salads and bento before or after visit to museums nearby or Royal Albert Hall. I love the miso salmon and hijiki salad. They also have a range of teas and matcha flavoured goodies from softserve ice cream to matcha beer.

Chlo Fo



Cute little Japanese cafe, ideally located for lunch before visiting the various attractions in the area. Great atmosphere and service. Menu has a wise selection of traditional Japanese food, Bento boxes offer a good bit of variety. Downside was the chicken teriyaki and miso salmon were quite dry . However, the matcha green tea is a winner and comes in a whole selection of goodies from lattes to desserts.

Chesca R

I L O V E this place. The katsu curry is superb, the bento boxes are always fresh and delicious and the matcha sundae is a treat well worth the calories 


We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner here and would recommend the Katsu Curry. Service was quick but friendly. The deco is a lovely mix of oriental and South ken chic. It is an ideal location for a dinner before a show at the Royal Albert Hall or event at the V and A. We used the time out card for the discount.

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