Machiya is named after the townhouses that once typified the streets of Kyoto. It serves a range of izakaya, yoshoku and washoku dishes, so will suit all tastes, whether you’re stopping by for a light lunch or big dinner with friends.
My friend and I popped along to Machiya during its soft launch, which meant 50% off the menu. Of course, my ‘blogger integrity’ meant I had to try as much on the menu as possible. The only thing that makes Japanese food taste better is when it’s discounted!
The izakaya dishes are the cheapest and, as light bites, are ideal either for lunch or a side. The tsukune (minced chicken skewers) are sublime and my personal recommendation, and the chicken yakitori is a staple on any menu.
I haven’t tried any of the yoshoku dishes yet but I will next time I visit. Tonkatsu, omurice and Japanese curry are some of Japan’s ultimate comfort foods and are all available from the menu!
As for the washoku, we tried the yuzu-miso salmon and zaru soba (chilled buckwheat noodles with dashi dipping sauce). I foresee the zaru soba being very popular in the warmer months – it’s light, tasty and there’s something very satisfying about drowning your own noodles in sauce. I was pleasantly surprised by the generous portion sizes and, given the central location of Machi-ya, reasonable prices. If I worked in Soho, it would definitely be my regular lunch haunt!
Of course, we couldn’t leave without sampling some desserts. Machiya serves a very moreish genmaicha mille crepe, multiple crepe-layered genmaicha cake served with a light custard cream, and you’ll be mad not to try it at least once. The houjicha roll cake is similarly sweet and delicious, and it was possible to imagine myself sitting in a little patisserie in Tokyo.
If drinking’s more your thing, Machiya does a very good matcha latte! Or, if you’re planning a big night out, there’s a downstairs bar serving Japanese cocktails with great names such as… the Jigglypuff! Clearly, I’ll need to make a return trip.
Machiya is located on Panton Street, formerly the home of Sasuke Ramen – another very good Japanese restaurant whose doors unfortunately closed earlier this year. Such is the nature of London’s fast-paced restaurant scene. The atmosphere at Machiya is as buzzing and friendly as you could hope for, so it’s well worth checking out.