Over a year since my last visit, just before the announcement of lockdown, I was pleased to hear about the re-opening of Machiya on Panton Street, a charming Japanese restaurant by the people behind critically acclaimed Kanada-Ya, one of my favourite ramen places in London.
Having played a key part in the establishment of London’s food scene for over 4 years, a great achievement indeed in such a competitive industry, Machiya is ready to make a strong comeback, bringing Londoners a new way to enjoy the best Japanese ingredients and produce.
Their menu focuses on sharing plates and grazing for groups, and is centred around lesser-known, lighter dishes and a traditional palate. We ordered a selection of dishes to share, starting with a refreshing starter of finely sliced mooli with sour ume plum and shiso, followed by some of their new dishes. I’ve always been a fan of aubergine, and really enjoyed the Aubergine Dengaku, a classic Japanese dish of white-miso glazed aubergine and walnuts. The Yaki Salmon Belly was cooked just about right, and had a lovely melt-in-your-mouth texture, and I was certainly partial towards the Pork Belly Nikujaga, a warming stew which is an example of Yōshoku – dishes with Western origins that have been adapted to the Japanese palate.
We also couldn’t resist trying some of their popular dishes, particularly the showstopper Wagyu Katsu, succulent slices of panko breaded shio koji Wagyu beef which came with a mini grill and some wasabi mayo and yuzu kosho on the side. Another favourite was the rich and flavoursome Grilled Eel Unagyu, served with steamed rice and unagi sauce.
For those with a sweet tooth like myself, don’t forget to make space for dessert (who doesn’t?) – we tried the yuzu mousse cheesecake as well as the kinako and cinnamon mochi mille crepe which were both really good.
Alongside their appetizing food menu, a concise but focused sake menu has also been drawn up, concentrating on both affordability and drinkability, each selection available by the glass. I had a glass of the aromatic and tropical Keigetsu Nigori Junmai Daiginjo, followed by the peach-flavoured Momo-Shu from the selection of much-loved fruit sakes. The drinks list also features Japanese whiskies, where alongside the staples there will also be one special bottling on rotation.
- My visit to Machiya London was complimentary – views and photos are my own.