Machiya is what I call a hidden gem in the city. You may think it’s just another matcha cafe or Japanese establishment – at least I had such thoughts if I were to be honest. However, it proved me wrong. First of all, Machiya is a Japanese restaurant opened by the team behind ramen group Kanada-Ya. They took inspiration from traditional Japanese food halls and aim to serve Londoners home-style Japanese food. It is tucked away at Panton Street near Picadilly Circus, and you’d be surprise that you don’t really need to queue for such place at such location – making it the ideal spot to get away from the crowd.
We popped in on a Saturday afternoon for tea. The place isn’t particularly huge, though they do have a downstairs seating area. The wooden furnishings give a very cosy feel to the place. It almost makes me feel as if I’ve walked into a local Japanese townhouse or something. We were there for a nibble but we had a look at their all-day food menu as well. The menu offers a range of classic Japanese dishes such as tonkatsu, Japanese curry, Wagyu Katsu, teriyaki, etc. Despite how appealing the menu looked like, we stuck with the desserts and drinks for our little afternoon tea/nibble.
Matcha Latte (£3.50)
We both ordered Matcha latte but I had the iced one while my friend had the hot one. First and foremost, did you notice a dent on the glass?! I must admit it made me jump when I wrapped my fingers around it and thought I’ve gone crazy or something. It’s certainly very unique and offers a strong grip on the glass of course.
Anyway, the matcha latte was fairly rich. It’s quite filling but it tasted really nice and made us not want to stop. There’s a good balance of matcha flavour in the drink. It’s distinct but not overpowering. It’s also blended really smoothly and gives a velvety texture.
Mille Crepe (£6.40)
The first dessert we ordered is the Mille Crepe. I just love a Mille Crepe. It was delightfully light and exactly what I was looking for. All these thin layers of crepe sandwiching a fresh and quality vanilla cream – it’s a really simple flavour combo but it’s surely sensational. The menu offers either vanilla or matcha flavour, but it depends on availability. When we went, there’s only vanilla.
Matcha Fondant (£6.40)
This one’s made for matcha lovers. A matcha fondant freshly baked and delicately topped with sweet red beans – it’s bound to steal your heart. As we dug in for a bite, there’s matcha gushing out of the cake. I did worry before ordering that this dessert would come out too rich. But it wasn’t. The matcha fondant was very well executed in terms of both the texture and flavours – making it genuinely a winning dish.
All in all, I’m surprised by the quality of food Machiya has to offer to Londoners! And what I loved most about the place is how it dodges away from the mainstream crowd and offers a serene environment for customers. It’s a humble establishment that I wish it can maintain its authenticity. It’s a gem in the city that I really recommend if you want a quick escape from the London hustle.
My Rating: 4/5
Very nice setting and authentic food
Halal Status: meats are not halal