- Note: My visit to Machiya was prior to its temporary closure due to the current COVID-19 situation, in line with the UK government’s announcement.
Japanese cuisine has always been one of my favourite cuisines and I was pleased to revisit Machiya. Named after the eponymous townhouses that once defined the Kyoto cityscape, Machiya is an all day restaurant and bar serving simple home style cooking alongside unique patisserie inspired by great food halls of Japan.
If you’re a cocktail aficionado and looking to add a bit more excitement to your drinking experience, then look no further than Machiya Bar in London’s Panton Street to embark on a mystery mixology expedition. Opened two years ago, Machiya Bar has recently launched London’s first Cocktail Omakase experience in their cosy drinking den, where the fate of your cocktails lies in the hands of their skilled mixologists.
Machiya Bar’s Cocktail Omakase, a variation on the popular Japanese dining trend that allows the chef to create a unique multi-course meal, is a four-drink journey through cohesively crafted beverages. Mixologists will improvise, surprise and delight adventurous drinkers – whether it’s gin, rum, vodka or sake based, the bartender is in charge of designing an experience for the customer, guided by his or her drinking preferences.
This was my first time visiting their underground bar, and upon descending the stairs we approached a dimly lit bar which had a cool speakeasy vibe to it. We began our cocktail experience with a sweet and refreshing bellini welcome drink prepared by our lovely bartender before delving deeper into a fun and enjoyable journey of different flavours and concoctions specially created according to our taste preferences. We both craved something sweet and refreshing to begin with and really enjoyed the cocktails that were were served, particularly the foam! Feeling a bit peckish we ordered a portion of chips and juicy chicken karaage to nibble on.
I do love my bubbles, so he then made me an elegant champagne cocktail with lychee liqueur and sugar which contained a grapefruit reduction. Jonathan had an Aperol Spritz-inspired cocktail, given a twist by mixing Campari and Aperol together with champagne and sparkling sake.
I decided to finish off with a sweet dessert-like cocktail made and was presented with luscious concoction of mint liqueur, chocolate liqueur, and cream which was just what I wanted, whilst Jonathan decided to go down the fruity path with a tall cocktail mix of fresh muddled strawberries, vodka, homemade mixed berry liqueur, and lemon syrup.
The Cocktail Omakase experience is priced at £40 per person and runs weekly Tuesday – Thursday from 6 – 9pm. The experience lasts 1.5 hours and pre-booking is essential with tables limited to 4 people – the perfect destination to enjoy quirky and fun cocktails in Central London.
Machiya has also recently launched a new wagyu menu in their restaurant upstairs, which features five juicy dishes each served with a different cut. It has been a while since I’ve savoured some good wagyu and this was the perfect fix to satisfy my meat cravings. We shared the Wagyudon which had tender slices of Australian A3 wagyu and onions that had been simmered in sake and soy sauce on steamed rice with pickled ginger, chives, crispy shallots, shredded daikon, and topped with a runny Clarence Court yolk. It sure was a hearty portion and certainly went down well with both our appetites.
We also shared a portion of the Wagyu Katsu Sando, a succulent panko-breaded Australian A3 wagyu fillet sandwiched between toasted Tokyo milk loaf, served with house tonkatsu sauce and shredded cabbage. I must admit that despite having drooled over the numerous Wagyu Katsu Sandos all over Instagram, this was actually my first time tasting one, and it was as delicious as I had imagined it to be and definitely deserves the gold medal for steak sandwiches. Other wagyu dishes on the menu that I would love to return to try included a wagyu tartare and wagyu bolognese.
Apart from their wagyu menu, they also have a vast variety of delectable dishes – I would highly recommend the Machiya hot wings which were served with a luscious spicy soy butter and furikake.
Ending our meal on a sweet note, we ogled at their tempting selection of desserts and decided on the matcha fondant which had a chocolatey molten centre and the special dessert on the menu that day, the yuzu lemon mousse.
Amongst many other restaurants in London, I look forward to the re-opening of Machiya so that I can relive those glorious evenings once again. Until then, stay safe and healthy everyone! This too shall pass.
- My visit to Machiya London was complimentary – views and photos are my own.