Cocktails underground at Machi-ya!


Did you know there’s a place in London where you can drink Jigglypuff and #ppap cocktails? If you’re intrigued, have a lurk in Machi-ya‘s new underground bar!

I’m a big fan of cocktails – they’re elegant, tasty and often crazily presented. The only thing that could make me like them more is by giving them a Japanese twist.

I recently reviewed Machi-ya restaurant, which serves delicious Japanese food at reasonable central London prices. A few short months after the restaurant’s opening, its downstairs has now been transformed into a dimly-lit, atmospheric bar. If you love your drinks but not so much the crowded venues, Machiya’s bar is well worth checking out.

I’m one of those easily amused people who chooses her cocktails by how much I like the name. Machi-ya’s cocktail menu – both the names and flavour combination – are creative and pretty amusing.

Our favourite cocktail of the night was kawaii ne (translates roughly to ‘isn’t it cute?’) – shirakabegura kimoto junmai sake, lychee & peach liqueur, yuzu juice and sake-yuzu foam. This cocktail is floral, light and not overly sweet to drink, although it’s certainly sweet to look at. Look at that little flower and delicate glass! It was so good we ordered it twice.

If you like your drink with a kick, the Jigglypuff is super effective! This was by far the strongest drink of the night, so don’t let the fact that it’s pink fool you. This one is made with portobello gin, campari, lemon, vermouth foam and you can really taste the campari. The gin and lemon come through though, so it’s easy to drink, and the vermouth foam makes this quite an unusual drink.

I giggled when I saw there was a #ppap cocktail on the menu and then had to show my friend the video that inspired its name, which you can watch here. Basically, Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen (ppap) is a bizarre song by fictional singer Pikotaro. Despite not actually having apple or pineapple in its mix, #ppap does come with a slice of pineapple. The drink itself consist of vodka, peach liqueur, amaretto, passionfruit syrup, lemon and fresh koji – it predominantly tastes sweet and peachy, which is my kind of drink.

The last drink on our list was the Omakase cocktail – the chef’s special! This is served in an illuminated ice cube, which automatically makes it a great cocktail. I unfortunately didn’t make a note of what was in this particular cocktail but, given the name, I imagine it changes fairly frequently. All I remember is that it was fruity and quickly become slushy-like, thanks to the ice. If you’re in a group, I recommend at least one of you tries it.

If you want to line your stomach before drinking, Machiya is bringing in a new bar snacks menu. It’s not just your wasabi peas, although those are there if you just want something light. Machiya pushes the boat out – we had wagyu sliders, kushiyaki, hot chicken wings and salted green peppers! With food like that, you’re definitely going to want cocktails afterwards. The wings are particularly divine.

I highly recommend Machi-ya’s bar if you want a more intimate and chilled out place to drink cocktails with a Japanese twist. Sake, wine, spirits and more are also on th emenu. Cocktails are £7-£9, so you can allow yourself more than one! I know I’ll be back again…

A big thanks to Tonic for inviting me and my friend Nikkayla to sample some of Machiya’s fine cocktails, the friendly bartenders who served us and the kitchen staff who plied us with moreish bar snacks!

 

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