Review: Tombo (South Kensington Branch)

I’ve recently come back from Disneyland Paris but as I was with teenagers and staying at a local activity centre I have nothing else to add to the posts I made last year. The popcorn is still good. We’re going to jump straight into an extended stay in London instead.

I think the only reason I know about Tombo is from Google maps. It popped up when I was scrolling round for vegan options near the Science Museum. Kate wasn’t into it though so we ended up walking along to Wulf & Lamb, but this time I was all alone and craving Japanese food.


It’s easy to pick something vegan off the menu. There’s an option with a little green leaf in every section. I went for the Miso Aubergine and Tofu Don (£7.95) with extra hijiki (£1.20). To be honest on my fist bite I wasn’t that impressed. It tasted a bit generic brown stir-fry sauce but the more I had, the more I bit into the succulent aubergine the more the flavour came out. By the end I was in a blissful umami coma.

It was a simple dish, perfect for a quick lunch. If I was in the area I’d definitely go back more often. Also their Fitzrovia branch is doing a special Sanrio menu right now which sounds great.

Vegan Review: Chai by Mira

It occurs to me now that all of the places we visited this trip were featured in the book Vegan London but most of that was an accident. This one was on purpose though: the picture was so gorgeous that we had to pop in.

If you go off the exceptionally busy Carnaby Street into the exceptionally busy Kingly Court then go up to the second floor and pop in to Triyoga you can find peace even on a Saturday afternoon at Chai by Mira. There’s a small menu of sweet and savoury snacks alongside hot drinks with a focus on bright and healthy dishes. Kate healthily drank a cacao and avocado smoothie. It tasted like milkshake so she was super happy.

I broke the habit of a lifetime and ordered a tea with milk in it (choices of oat and coconut, I went oat). I thought I’d better order one of the chais and went for the rosy chai. It was warming, calming and delicious.

I also had a little bit of avo toast to snack on. It had tahini, tamarind and tasty seeds on top. I was a little sceptical of the tahini but it worked really well. And honestly anything with tamarind on is absolutely perfect.

Chai by Mira is wonderful. It’s a great place to pop into if you need a break or if you need a light bite and a hot drink. My one regret? They sell chai mix and a cookbook by owner Mira Manek. Why didn’t I buy them? What was I thinking?

Vegan Review: Purezza (Brighton and London)

When we decided to head to Brighton we asked our friends for recommendations for a place that didn’t just serve ice cream. She told us to head to Purezza and we ended up doing that twice because they also have a Camden branch and we needed more pizza.

In Brighton Kate ordered herself the Couch Potato without the aubergine. It had the stunning smoked mozzarella, shaved seitan, and smooth, creamy garlicky mayo. Thumbs up from us.

I went for the cheese steak calzone with more of that amazing seitan, onion chutney and mozzarella. It also had red and orange peppers when I think it would have been a little better with green. Still I loved it.

We rolled up to the Camden branch the next evening. Dark by the time we got there but thankfully with one table left for us. It was busy. We had to wait a little while for the food. We ordered a cheese board to start. I was expecting a couple of different textures but it was more like the same cheese with four different flavours. One was super garlicky and Kate gobbled it down, another full of chilli and that was my favourite. But I don’t think we’d order this one again.

For the main course Kate had the margarita. We were disappointed with the margarita (I say we because I have never refused a bite of anything): the tomato sauce was a little too sweet. And she regretted not paying extra for the smoked cheese.

Speaking of extra stuff I ordered the green supreme with extra salami on top. I wish I’d asked for the salami instead of the sausage crumbles. I found the sausage crumbles to taste a bit too much like stuffing. I enjoyed the greens and the smoked mozzarella so much. The chillies a little less. They broke my tolerance.

We enjoyed both our visits to Purezza and I’d recommend both, but Brighton was the better one for us. Though it could just be because it was less busy. Whichever one you visit though I recommend the smoked mozzarella. That stuff is amazing.

Vegan Restaurant Review: Farmacy (London)

Farmacy has restaurants in London and New York but we don’t go to New York all that often (ever) so we went to the Notting Hill branch. It’s as fancy as its postcode with a very well designed interior. It’s the typical exposed wood, metal and cunningly placed plants, but perfectly done. The menu too is fairly typical but less well executed.

We split the Mac and Cheese (£11) for the starter. It’s got truffled cheese in it so I took the first bite just to check that Kate would like it. “It’s aggressively truffley” I said. And honestly that the only opinion either of us had about it. All you taste is that truffle. No cheese, none of the sage in the breadcrumbs, nothing but truffle. We ate about at third each. It was just too much.

For her main Kate ordered the Garden Green Pesto (£12) which comes on spelt pasta with almond ricotta on top. I was expecting the freshest, most basil-filled pesto. It basically tasted like a jar pesto. Far too ordinary for the price tag. When you stir the ricotta in it gets lovely and rich but it’s just a dollop on the top and not exactly easy to stir into spaghetti in a graceful manner at the table.

I had the Pad Thai (£14.50) which was was helped texturally by the large serving of peanuts, but tasted overwhelming of citrus.

And so we went on to dessert. Kate ordered the Sticky Toffee Pudding (£9) which she reported as having a very dry sponge, without much of a toffee taste.

I had the sundae (£11) which came with seasonal fruits. Like raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. The taste was good but the ice cream was mostly melted and it was more like eating whipped cream.

Was there anything I did like? Well the drinks were brilliant. I had a great herbal tea and we had a couple of good juices. And honestly I wouldn’t have even minded the food. It wasn’t that bad, just a little simple. Our bill came to £77 and I was thinking: okay, it is Notting Hill, I loved the drinks, the food was okay and the service was amazing. Fantastic host and server. Can’t fault them. So £77 was fine. Then, of course, the service charge is added on. And £86.50 is just too much.