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A heathier afternoon tea at Tombo’s Japanese...

A heathier afternoon tea at Tombo’s Japanese Cafe

The boy and me are going stir crazy. Gone are the days of treats upon treats. Of Friends and Ben & Jerry’s. Of Pringles popping and indeed not stopping. Of champagne Sundays. Now it’s one 200 calorie meal after the next. I love juice, but damn does it get dull after a week.

We still have a drawer of Christmas chocolates, as well as a Toblerone that mysteriously appeared out of nowhere. It’s like treats are TAUNTING us.

‘Look,’ they say. ‘Look what you COULD have, if you weren’t so FAT.’ I’m tempted to rage eat them for their insolence, but that’ll happen after the honeymoon.

So for a weekend treat after such a dull start to the New Year, we sought out a fairly healthy afternoon tea. And in comes Tombo, who challenged us to try their Japanese afternoon tea.

Right next to the Science and Natural History Museums this little cafe sits, open for tourists and locals alike. South Kensington is full of little cafes, but this one is definitely worth a visit on your travels.

Now, Tombo had me liking it from the off. For you see, aside from the Maneki-neko beckoning cat, they also sold a range of cat teapots (scroll to the end of the gallery above. Seriously, it’s WORTH IT). These people knew how to win the hearts and minds of their customers.

We arrived and asked for a table. The front half of the cafe is like a deli, serving matcha tea and cakes, with a little seating area for those on the go. Towards the back of the cafe are tables for more of a leisurely lunch.

Matcha tea is a fine powder. It tastes like a sweeter version of green tea, but has more antioxidants packed in. In fact, it even beats the trendy goji berry and Popeye’s favourite in terms of detoxing qualities. It also has a slow-release version of caffeine, meaning although it’s got less than an espresso, the way the body processes it means it lasts way, way longer than a coffee shot.

After sitting down and having no idea what to order, the lovely waitress suggested a cold matcha frappe, and selected another to match our lunch.

tombo afternoon tea

The tea was served promptly, followed by afternoon tea. We had one to share between us, which meant we didn’t get to taste everything. Definitely order one each, or you’ll be left feeling hungry afterwards.

The savoury section included chicken and prawn Temari and Maki sushi, with sweet picked ginger, soy sauce and wasabi. It was gorgeous, and the chicken maki were amazing. I’m dying to try their katsu curry after sampling their sushi.

Once the mains were devoured, it was onto the sweet. Now, I’ve only been brave enough to try Yo Sushi dessert, and it didn’t go well. Strange paste-like textures with savoury flavours does not a sweet treat make. So it was with real trepidation we gave the sweets a go. And they were amazing.

I hate macarons. I know, I’ll turn in my blogger gun and badge (we all got guns and badges, right?) and pack up my desk. But this was something else. Matcha tea flavoured with nary a hint of almond *spit vomit* and it was superb. I’ll be getting a box of these to go with my katsu curry once the diet is over.

There was also some matcha chocolate, a gorgeously green gateaux and the most delicious inky cake I’ve ever had. Each one tasted so screamy, and the texture was, well, heavy but light. You’ll have to try it to understand. But yes, well impressed.

I have a feeling the cakes were calorie-heavy, but as we were sharing a tea, and as the matcha was high in antioxidants, we allowed ourselves the pleasure.

Next time you’re exploring in South Kensington, pop in to this charming little Japanese cafe. You’ll want some matcha tea, a few macarons and definitely a cat teapot or two.

Tombo Japanese Cafe and Deli

29 Thurloe Place, South Kensington, London SW7 2HQ Afternoon tea costs £12.50

I'm Laura. I write most of the stuff on six out of ten magazine, as well as other places all over the web and in printed words. I'm a fan of travel (clearly), good cocktails, and anything sweet.

  • I love the idea of a healthy tea, especially a Japanese one. I’m doing a healthy low sugar one later in the month.

    Lots of love,
    Angie
    SilverSpoon London

  • Yum – this is going straight into the diary!!

    • It’s such a lovely little place – little being the operative word – but they’re so well placed for locals and tourists. I’m dying to try their katsu chicken!

  • Shikha (whywasteannualleave)

    I am so obsessed with matcha Laura – when I recently went to Asia, I pretty much ate or drank anything that had the word matcha in it so I’ll definitely have to check out this place 🙂

    • It’s amazing isn’t it! I still can’t get over how green tea macarons are the best I’ve ever tasted

  • Geeky Explorer ✈

    Next time I’m in London I know what to do 🙂

  • This is great! We love anything to do with Japan and when we are stuck at home waiting for the next trip we always head for exotic places to eat to remind us of our favourite countries! 🙂

  • Victoria – Dovaston’s Diaries

    This sounds delicious! Will have to visit next time I am in the city 🙂

  • travelgeekery

    What a great cafe! So they serve coffee there too? 🙂 It does sound great, I’d be totally up for the macarons!

    • We didn’t have coffee, but they do cold ‘frappe’ with matcha, which David had. Really unique twist and perfect for when you’re boiling hot!

  • I am totally a tea person, so I this is totally post and place for me 🙂

    • Oh it’s amazing!

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