Since my recent trips to Singapore and Taiwan latest I know that the true hero of Asian pop culture is a tiny cat with a red ribbon close to one of her ears: Hello Kitty has made the Sanrio company – and due to its vast popularity, it is maybe not too surprising that Sanrio licensed one of the Japanese Tombo Cafes in London to serve food which is branded with the cartoon cat and her friends. This license follows a pop-up concept, though: the cafe started this kind of catering on 1st November 2019, the menu will close after four months. My second Hello Kitty posting after flying the Hello Kitty airplanes by EVA Air.
Tombo Cafe Fitzrovia – The Cafe
Tombo drives three cafes in London. Only one of their outlets, the Fitzrovia one at 4 Windmill Street, features the Sanrio menu. The cafe opens from 11:30 to 21:30, Monday to Saturday, and 12:00 to 17:00 on Sundays.
The cafe is quite small and offers some 40 to 50 seats. The next Underground Station is Goodge Street – if you do Oxford Street shopping, Tottenham Court Road is not too far away as well.
Tombo Cafe Fitzrovia – Cafe & Service
The cafe has very characteristic British architecture – comparably long, but narrow. It never feels too narrow though. You order at the desk and then grab a table in the slighly lower restaurant (or go for a take-away of course). The cafe is really nice, the staff was very friendly. The main dishes took a while, but the waiting time was reasonable. The Sanrio decoration was absolutely stunning and gave a lot of atmosphere. There were a lot of prints, plush – and even Sanrio-themed lanterns. Nice!
Tombo x Sanrio – The Meal
During the Sanrio cooperation, Tombo Cafe Fitzrovia keeps its original menu – the Sanrio dishes are just on top of that. Thus, the menu has four columns, only one of them featuring meals with feature Hello Kitty and her friends. The prices were just in reasonable range. My wife had the Hello Kitty themed poke bowl with Salmon, while I went for the Japanese Pom Pom Purin Curry, which you could option with Chicken Katsu. Both main dishes were in that way 13.95 GBP, Sarah’s bowl featured a very delicious miso soup was well. The design of the poke bowl required some fantasy to identify Sanrio’s key character’s head, while the curry looked cool (Katsu not in the pictures).
We could not stand the desserts, so that Sarah went for Kerropi’s Pond, which was a matcha flavored tiramisu. I had the Hello Kitty Banana Split, which was majorly full of whipped cream. Still, this desert offered a nice saturation. The dishes were 6 and ten pound. Due to printed chocolate, I overall liked the quality – and the design – of the final dish more than the originally lunch snack.
Tombo x Sanrio – The Merch
The service desk area are also featured the merchandise. There was quite some focus on tea and tea-related items, but there were also some print things like greeting cards, a bit of plush and a gift side. The pricing was not a rip-off, but even more far away from being a bargain. In contrast to the Pokemon pop-up my wife and I visited at our last visit together, it was much easier to stand buying something to take with you from the Tombo.
Tombo x Sanrio – My View
The idea behind Tombo x Sanrio is definitely cute and in general, the design of the dishes is well done. Unfortunately, there are some weaknesses – for example, why is there just one Kitty-shaped vegetable in the whole poke bowl? The Katsu Curry was beautiful to look at, but first of all not that good in taste and finally just too small. In general the dishes we had could have been larger – only the Banana cream dish called Banana Split was maybe even too much (whipped cream). Not outstanding, not average – the cafe is a very solid visit (and they do a great miso soup there as well).
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