One of my favourite spots in London when I need a matcha fix is Tombo. What started off as one cafe near the Natural History Museum (South Kensington) has grown into a successful branch of three – one in Soho and the newest in Fitzrovia.
I don’t just love Tombo for its matcha latte (hot or cold, they’re both great) but also their cute cakes and customisable poke bowls – Hawaiian rice-based dishes that are both filling and refreshing.
Last year Tombo had a pop up cafe in Liberty and now its latest venture is a Hello Kitty pop up in its Fitzrovia branch. Until 8 October you can enjoy their special Hello Kitty menu, designed in partnership with Japanese patissier and chocolatier Chika Watanabe and Sanrio (Hello Kitty’s creator) themselves.
If you’re sitting down for a meal, you have a choice between the Hello Kitty katsu curry and poke bowl. Both come with a mound of rice shaped like Hello Kitty and vegetables cut into various cute shapes. Both are decent hearty meals and the presentation is probably as close as you can get to an Akihabara cafe in London.
For your matcha fix, both the iced matcha latte and hot matcha latte are good choices. The iced latte is decorated with sugar shapes and the hot latte Hello with Kitty’s foamy face (as if it could be anything else). If you’ve never been to Tombo, there’s no better excuse to try out their matcha drinks. Another drink on the regular Tombo menu, if you don’t want to go heavy on the matcha, is the refreshing watermelon matcha juice of which I’m a big fan.
As for dessert, the ultimate choice is the Hello Kitty matcha or houjicha sundae. Even if you’re full after your katsu curry or poke bowl, you won’t want to share so don’t kid yourself and just treat yourself! For something a bit lighter, you can choose from Hello Kitty mochi, cookies, cupcakes and more. Or you can choose from the regular lovely display of Tombo cakes.
As well as food, you can take away your own limited edition Hello Kitty tea range and other goods from Tombo. It’s not easy to get your hands on Hello Kitty-branded matcha green tea sachets or tubs, so it’s a worthwhile investment or nice present to buy for someone. Admittedly, they aren’t cheap, but matcha isn’t known for its low cost. The katsu curry also comes with its own little Hello Kitty sauce pot which you can take home.
I’ve been to the Hello Kitty pop up twice now and both times it’s been very busy, so clearly it’s been a success. Whether or not you can make the Hello Kitty pop up in Fitzrovia, Tombo’s cafes are always a good choice. Instagrammers will be very happy here!