REVIEW: Machiya, Soho
WHAT? Named after the eponymous townhouses of Kyoto, Machiya serves up simple, home-style cooking and beautiful patisserie inspired by Japanese food halls.
WHY GO? Near the Harold Pinter theatre and Fashionbite favourite Savini at Criterion, Machiya sits in the middle of Soho. Open for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner seven days a week, it’s ideal for a pre-theatre bite, or dropping in after a few hours’ shopping.
WHY GO? Expect tonkatsu, Japanese curry and teriyaki (all available as a teishoku set meal with homemade miso soup, pickles and premium steamed rice), but the main draw has to be cooking your own meal on a hot stone.
We adored the Wagyu Katsu (£25), comprising panko breaded Australian wagyu beef, wasabi mayo, yuzu kosho and tonkatsu sauce, seared to perfection using your chopsticks and a stylish metal cooker. Recommended extras include an onsen egg, chilli oil, curry sauce, gokubuto, soba, udon and pork belly, so you’re never short of variations.
Donburi options take in the likes of grilled chicken (glazed in sweet teriyaki sauce with mayonnaise and crispy salad), Oyakodon (chicken and egg), and Gyudon – thinly sliced beef and onions simmered in sake and soy sauce with an onsen egg, pickled ginger and chives over steamed rice. Served super hot, they’re filling, comforting bowls of umami joy on a rainy day.
The in-house pastry team offer customers an authentic taste of Japanese patisserie, using only the best premium Uji matcha and seasonal ingredients like cherry blossom and Yuzu. Dessert here is anything but an afterthought, highlights being matcha fondant (that’s a molten chocolate cake flavoured with green tea) and Warabimochi – silky soft matcha mochi dusted with kinako powder (finely roasted soy beans).
ANYTHING ELSE? Downstairs at Machiya, a cosy, intimate drinking den, is now open in the basement – specialising in quirky, brightly coloured cocktails like the Jigglypuff (Portobello Gin, Campari, lemon & vermouth foam) and the Smokey Negroni (Lagavulin 16, Johnnie Walker Black, Umeshu, Antica Formula and Campari). Of course, there’s a selection of fine Japanese whiskies and sakes to try, too.
DETAILS: Machi-ya.co.uk /5 Panton Street, Soho, London, SW1Y 4DL / firstname.lastname@example.org / 0207 925 0333