[dropcap]N[/dropcap]estled just off Piccadilly Circus is a gem of a Japanese restaurant. Machiya, is a restaurant and bar combo offering traditional and delicious Japanese cuisine. Their specialty is gorgeous Japanese style patisserie delights and food-hall inspired favourites. Honestly, it’s an absolute delight to eat there.
I love Japanese food. Love it. I especially love noodles. Noodles are honestly so my jam. I could easily eat them for three meals a day forever. Maybe. Being offered the chance to review such a great restaurant was an absolute treat for me (and Ollie).
Machiya is a teeny restaurant, with room for maybe 20 people, and open kitchen, and a simple style. Think wooden tables and benches, simple decor and a really chill vibe. The staff were warm and welcoming and made sure we always had a full glass and a plate of food in front of us. A big shout out goes to the great chef, who visited us several times to make sure that we were happy with everything and to personally recommend dishes and treats. It was such a great touch and made the whole evening really enjoyable.
After ordering our drinks, lemonade and ginger ade, both homemade, we settled down to look over the menu. The chef had already sorted a selection of dishes for us to try so we wouldn’t be ordering any food, but the array on paper was fantastic. Soba dishes and katsu dishes and everything you could want from a homely Japanese restaurant. I’d love to go back and try the things we didn’t get round to trying.
What we did try, however, was fabulous. Starting with tsukune (chicken meatball skewers dipped in egg joke) and a tofu custard (!!), Ollie and I quickly began doing that thing where you make wide eyed faces at each other and mumble exclamations through a mouth full of food. Served with delicious miso soup in a bowl, everything was spot on. The real MVP was, however, the tsukune. Honestly, get this in your belly. It was fabulous. Honestly so good. Worth going to Machiya for them alone, to be honest.
These starter dishes were quickly followed by a selection of mains. First, the aruba soba (warm egg noodles, chashu pork belly, bonito-konbu sauce, menma, onsen tamago, shredded nori, garlic, sesame oil) and the big bowl of gyudon (sliced beef, onsen egg, red ginger, onions, rice). Again, these were exceptional. Simple but delicious. Shout out to the gyudon for being my favourite, close second coming to the buta shogayaki don (basically amazing pork and rice) that was added to the table soon after. It was a feast, and getting through it all was both enjoyable and difficult. So many rich delicious flavours to try and so little stomach space.
For me, dessert was a massive hit too. Ollie wasn’t so sure, not being a fan of sesame ice-cream. I ordered the genmaicha mille crepe (one of those oh-so-trendy crepe cakes that constantly pop up on my facebook timeline) and Ollie went for the watermelon mojito raindrop cake. The raindrop cake was awesome – kind of like a blob of jelly on a plate. Unfortunately I’m not a fan of watermelon at all but Ollie assures me it was delicious. However, the matcha crepe cake was inspired. Really really tasty and surprisingly light. Perfect after eating the entirety of the menu in one gulp.
All in all, we left absolutely buzzing.
Now, I can’t claim to be any sort of expert on Japanese food. I’ve never been to Japan, and I’m sure that Wagamamas is hardly a prime example of Japanese fine dining. However, I was assured by Trip Advisor and the general vibe of Machiya that the food was legit. It seemed legit. Like proper comfort food, served simply and well. That’s my kind of restaurant.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is go there. Go to Machiya for lunch or dinner or whatever you feel like. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. I know I certainly wasn’t. x