Tombo Pokē & Matcha Bar

Restaurants, Hawaiian Soho
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(10user reviews)
1/5
2/5
3/5
4/5
5/5

An airy Soho café serving sushi bowls plus all things matcha.

We like bandwagons. They’re fun to jump on. And now the pokē bandwagon is officially rolling through London. Hailing from Hawaii, the raw-fish salad bowls are like pimped-up versions of Japanese chirashi. However, Tombo makes no reference to the dish’s Hawaiian roots, instead opting for a minimal sushi bar vibe with familiar Japanese sides like hijiki (seaweed) salad and miso soup.

As a poké virgin, I found the build-your-own menu daunting; the signature bowls were more accessible, with variations on marinated salmon or tuna over black and white rice or courgetti. Sizeable chunks of glistening fish were super-fresh, and ‘salmon caviar’ and edamame make enjoyable additions. Although it ruined the prettiness, my bowl needed a proper chopstick shake-up to distribute the heavy wasabi soy sauce nestling under layers of avocado and nori. Ticking another bandwagon box is the accompanying matcha menu: green stuff galore from teas and lattes to desserts and juices. Steer clear of the strong juices and save room for soft-serve ice cream or matcha rocky road.

Although with regular-size poké costing from around £7, these are no bargain bowls. And the 20 percent VAT charge (hidden in small print) for eating in left almost as sour an aftertaste as the matcha juice we’d had. When you compare these prices to those of Soho’s many Japanese lunch joints, Tombo doesn’t quite match(a) up.

By: Megan Carnegie Brown

Posted:

Venue name: Tombo Pokē & Matcha Bar
Contact:
Address: 28 D’Arblay Street
London
W1F 8EW
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11.30am-9.30pm; Sun 11.30am-8pm
Transport: Tube: Tottenham Court Road
Price: Lunch for two with drinks and service: around £45.
Do you own this business?
Static map showing venue location

Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:1
  • 4 star:5
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|10
2 people listening
1 of 1 found helpful
tastemaker

Finally got the chance to try Tombo’s second branch! Located in the heart of Soho, this outlet specialises in Poké bowls and matcha desserts and drinks. I came in on a Monday afternoon to grab a takeaway lunch for me and my brother and was very pleased with my order!


We both got the Kaisen Poké, which is a new poké bowl and opted for a black & white rice base. This dish consisted of diced salmon and tuna sashimi pieces, edamame beans, and diced avocado pieces with a ponzu dressing and sprinkled with nori on top.


I enjoyed this because everything tasted so fresh! There was a good amount of salmon and tuna sashimi as well as the black & white rice base. The ponzu dressing was concentrated in the middle of the bowl but upon mixing the contents of the bowl, it was evenly spread and tasted delicious. I liked that it carried a sweet and sour taste and the addition of soy sauce made it extra flavourful. The avocado added a good amount of creaminess and the edamame beans were a nice change of texture in the poké bowl.


I found the ‘regular’ serving to be just enough food but my brother found that it wasn’t filling enough for him. It was nice that I could choose between a regular and a small size. I imagine the latter would make for a good snack or even as breakfast!


It’s definitely worth visiting again, as I found the food to be yummy and there are several other types of poké bowls to choose from. Given its central location, it’s not hard to see myself going back in the near future!

tastemaker

Tombo is almost everything Matcha. My friend and I went overboard and between us ordered a Matcha latte, a Matcha flat to accompany the Matcha macaroons, short cake and doughnut. It was a little pricey but thought we'd treat ourselves, partly to console ourselves as we couldn't get into the nearby Hello Kitty cafe. My friend's flat was luke warm, and though we know Matcha drinks shouldn't be piping hot this was pretty tepid. I had to send my drink back as it was served in a cup with someone's lipstick on it. The cakes faired better with the short cake being really nice working well with a strawberry flavour.  The doughnut was a little over glazed, thus really sweet. Staff were very helpful. They seemed mortified over the dirty cup. It was wasn't the worse experience I've had, the cakes were largely tasty. However I probably won't come here again.

tastemaker

Tombo is quite small, but it has a modern airy decor which makes it feel much bigger. We did have a bit of a wait, but the host was really accommodating and lovely to us so we didn't mind the wait.


We went when the Hello Kitty pop up was on which was great! There was a Hello kitty special menu, which was a bit more pricey but a dream come true for Hello Kitty fans. I've never tried poke before so I went the regular classic poke. It was really tasty and fresh, tasted like deconstructed sushi, and a good portion so you still had room for dessert. My friend had a Hello Kitty poke, which came with Hello Kitty shaped vegetables - amazing. For dessert I had the matcha soft serve which I really enjoyed (but if you're not sure about matcha they do do tasters). 


The food was simple, unfussy and fresh - good for when you went something healthy but very delicious. 

tastemaker

Tried out Tombo yesterday for the first time and they had excellent service. The place had a really fresh, clean look, with an artistic tree in the middle of the cafe - which was a nice touch. 


I tried out a Poké bowl and some ginger tea, and left feeling satisfied, happy and healthy. You could tell a great deal of care was taken in preparing the bowl with all its different elements. The menu is simplistic, and really does what it says on the tin - a selection of Poké bowls and matcha teas / desserts. I was glad to see they had both chicken as well as fish dishes - catering to all palettes. I would recommend for an afternoon bite / tea or lunch. 

tastemaker

I tried Poké for the first time in Australia and had been wanting to try it in London for a while now so decided to finally give it a go at Tombo. The venue is pretty and minimalistic but also quite small so not ideal for big groups, although there is seating space downstairs. I picked up a bowl of poké, which is £6.25 take away (reasonable) and £7.50 eat-in (less reasonable).  As you can see from the picture it really is quite a small bowl so if you're feeling very hungry I would recommend going for a bigger one. As for the taste itself, I really enjoyed it. Most importantly, the fish was fresh  and the rest of the ingredients felt fresh as well and it got prepared fast for me. It's also relatively healthy so nice to have the option of eating a healthier kind of take-out. In terms of authenticity, as I've only got one other poké to go on and I opted for 'make-your-own' I'd say I'm not sure if it's as good as the real Hawaiian one. If you're not a poké snob and you like the idea of deconstructed sushi (which is what I suppose I like about it?) then give it a go too and you won't be disappointed!

tastemaker

Although I didn't have poke, this restaurant is truly delicious! After ordering an iced vanilla matcha latte and tasting my first sip- I was sold. I am a matcha maniac but my partner, who's first experience it was, enjoyed his food and drink just as much as I did. As my vegetarian set sushi meal was laid out in front of me I had to resist hooving the meal at the speed of light, as my eyes drew wide and couldn't wait to dig into the elegant dished sushi. I have finally found a place in London that makes amazing sushi- looking forward to not only feasting on sushi and matcha lattes again soon but sampling their extensive dessert menu. Until next time... 

tastemaker

First poke place in London 💥 originates from Hawaii & ive had experience with this kind of theme in the states! I love the concept, fresh sashimi with avocado/seaweed/edamame with matcha green drinks available 👌🏼 service was fast and sat down stairs. You have a choice on the menu options & I chose tuna & salmon which was amazing and probably too much as a protein source. I had it with courgetti but you can choose to have it with rice instead. It was tastie but I felt a little expensive. I would go again & food was prepped quickly so another bonus.

tastemaker

Since this Summer, I'm a big fan of Hawaiian-styled poke. Unfortunately I was quite disappointed by Tombo Poke & Maatcha as the food is quite overpriced for what you get. This small take away offers a range of fresh pre-selected poke with different bases (courgette noodle, rice) and toppings (marinated fishes, kimchee, avocado, edamame, etc). I had one of their 'Salmon Avo Lux' signature one which was quite small and filled up with more rice than toppings. I would probably not return to this place as in my opinion £9 for a bowl of rice is way too expensive.





tastemaker

It's aaiiiighhhht as we Californians would say. This was very disappointing, it was not really like an authentic poke at all. Sorry to be harsh, but this tasted no different than a chirashi bowl. Why do you call this poke when it tasted nothing like it? There's a massive poke bowl trend going on in California, and it's not completely like Hawaii but at least they taste similar to it. 


What I don't like about this place is they fill you up with rice and their menu is confusing. They do not specify the take away and eat in prices. I personally think it's overpriced for what you get in terms of flavour and portion. I won't return to this place, sorry. 

tastemaker

I am a devoted fan of Tombo Kensington as their matcha desserts never fail to impress! 

The matcha sundae here at their Soho bar did not disappoint- unpretentious, rich, authentic and not too sweet. Tombo's matcha is no doubt the best in London! However, the Soho matcha bar has far fewer dessert and green tea selection- less than 15 items on the menu. The bar also has fewer seatings than their Kensington branch.


This Soho bar however, serves something that they never had in Kensington- Poké! I am a big fan of Poké, ever since it's introduced to me by @eatpokelondon, one of Kerb's traders. My friend and I ordered a Tuna Avo and a Salmon Avo Lux each. We have the option of rice/ noodle as its base, we both chose rice simply because we were too hungry haha! The ingredients used were fresh and healthy, perfect for a hearty quick lunch! I would prefer @eatpokelondon's version however, as they have more ingredients and even fresher fish.


If you happen to be there, do drop by and check them out! :)

Snap up exclusive discounts in London

Time Out's handpicked deals — hurry, they won't be around for long...