Machiya | Japanese Restaurant & Bar
It’s the anagram lovers’ Tokyo.
And it’s also the inspiration for Machiya, which takes its name (and feel) from the traditional townhouses of the city; the simple wooden furnishings give the two-floor space a pared-back, elegant feel. Set in Piccadilly, it’s the first non-ramen restaurant/bar from the people behind the now-legendary (and neighbouring) noodle palace Kanada-Ya. Here’s how it breaks down:
… is the restaurant. The menu covers a broad swathe of Japanese culinary styles, including panko-crumbed fried pork in the tonkatsu curry; some gyūdon (thinly sliced beef with onsen egg, red ginger, onions, and rice); traditional glazed eel served over rice; and zaru soba, which comprises chilled buckwheat noodles in an umami-laden shiitake mushroom broth.
And for dessert? You can get genmaicha mille-crepes (a dozen ultra-thin pancakes stacked between layers of sweet filling), and they have their own matcha soft-serve ice cream machine.
…is the cocktail bar. It’s an intimate, low-lit space, with a few stools nestled around the bar, and more secluded sofas and tables for two tucked away to the left of the stairs.
If you’re a cocktail lover, there’s a short but sweet menu of Japanese-influenced house cocktails, including the Jigglypuff (which blends Portobello gin, Campari, lemon and fluffy vermouth foam); the umeshi-aided Smokey Negroni; and the non-alcoholic Okinawa Cooler, combining yuzu juice and vanilla syrup with Calpis, a popular Japanese soft drink made with milk and citrus.
But the real treat is to plump for their cocktail omakase. A quintessential Japanese dining concept, it roughly translates as ‘letting chef decide’, and is designed to take your tastebuds on a journey of discovery. Downstairs at Machiya, you can do the same thing with cocktails – instead of perusing the menu, the bartender himself will come to your table and discuss your favourite flavours and drinks styles (or maybe even the ones you don’t usually go for). You’ll then be treated to a suite of three off-menu cocktails tailored to your personal taste.
And then of course, there’s a long list of Japanese sakes and whiskeys, too.
Or, if you like anagrams, key wishes.
NOTE: Machiya is open daily from noon, and is walk-in only. The bar downstairs is open Tuesday – Saturday, and offers the Cocktail Omakase experience for up to 4 people, Tues-Thurs evenings. It costs £40pp, and you can book via 0207 925 0333 or by emailing email@example.com. You can find out more at their website right HERE.
Machiya | 5 Panton Street, SW1Y 4DL
Into Japanese restaurants? Then head on down to Kazu…