Machiya, Soho: restaurant review
The founders of ramen favourite Kanada-Ya turn their attention to home-style Japanese cooking with Machiya, where we find waygu steak, whisky and Insta-perfect matcha soft-serve ice cream
What's the draw
Connoisseurs of Asian food have long mourned the lack of authentic Japanese cooking in London, but they might just meet their match at Machiya, the second restaurant concept from the founders of Kanada-Ya. It's the place to try dishes like unajyu, grilled eel with unagi sauce, and omu rice, rice braised in chicken stock and served on a thin omelette – made with Burford Brown eggs. Obviously.
What to drink
Head to the downstairs bar for a pre- (or post-) prandial tipple, where you can watch the barman magically sculpt you a perfectly spherical ice cube from a giant block of ice. There's a great little cocktail menu here – the Jigglypuff, a fluffy pink concoction of Portobello gin, Campari, lemon and vermouth foam, proved itself a winner, as did the appetite-whetting smoky negroni, made with Antica Formula. Oh, and don't forget to come back after dinner for a excellent selection of Japanese whiskies.
What to eat
Having acquainted ourselves with the cocktails pretty early on, we kicked things off with a selection of izakaya, small plates designed for grazing while you drink. The perfectly creamy, wobbly savoury tofu custard, topped simply with ginger and spring onions, was an unexpected treat, as were the chicken yakitori skewers. When it comes to the larger dishes, the wagyu katsu is a clear showstopper, with slices of panko-crumbed grain-fed Australian wagyu beef that you sear yourself on a mini charcoal grill, but we'd wholeheartedly recommend the salmon with yuzu-miso sauce, too – and the eel, although it was sadly sold out on our visit. As for dessert, the matcha soft-serve ice cream proved irresistible – but fans can opt for everything from matcha roll cake to fondant, all in that brilliant jade hue.
Small plates from £3; cocktails from £7. 5 Panton Street, SW1Y 4DL; machi-ya.co.uk