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Restaurants, Japanese Leicester Square
4 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

A Japanese home-cooking joint, from the people behind Kanada-Ya.

‘Machiya’ is the Japanese word for a traditional wooden townhouse – which sums things up rather nicely. A restaurant from the people behind award-winning tonkotsu specialist Kanada-Ya, the remit here is Japanese home-cooking; the kind you imagine might be served in a traditional wooden Japanese townhouse. It just happens to be dished up in a clean, bright little restaurant on Panton Street, to the rather incongruous sounds of Norah Jones. Great news for anyone who can’t afford the trip out (far) East.

The menu is short, and the dishes haven’t been compromised to appeal to Western palates. First up was a transparent tofu custard, that looked like jelly but tasted sweet and creamy. Dotted with spring onions and crowned with a bird’s nest of ginger, it was sharp and bold, and unlike anything I’ve eaten before. Next came ‘abura soba’: slippery, well-flavoured egg noodles topped with shredded nori, pork belly and a daringly undercooked egg. Packing a serious chilli and garlic punch, this dish was not for the faint-hearted. A side of baked sweet potato drizzled with lime butter was a less successful taste adventure (so wet and so sharp!).

There were simpler and more expected pleasures, too. Miso soup came comforting and hot, infused with toasted sesame. My personal highlight? Wonderfully crispy panko-breaded pork served with plummy, sweet tonkatsu sauce. But it’s the noodles and the tofu custard that have stuck in my mind. Go to Machiya and you’ll have a meal you won’t forget. You’ll also only spend about £15 a head on food (only two dishes on this menu are more than £9). That’s pretty special in itself.

Machiya says
Machiya serves traditional Japanese dishes alongside unique patisserie inspired by great food halls of Japan. Our kitchen serves dishes such as tonkatsu, Japanese curry, Wagyu Katsu, teriyaki and much more.

And downstairs, our cosy, intimate drinking den specialises in quirky and fun cocktails, with highlights including the Jigglypuff and the Smokey Negroni. Throw in some unusual Japanese whiskies and sakes, and your post-work drinks are pretty much sorted. Our bar also serves up a selection of Japan’s favourite bar snacks including a wagyu slider, a pop-katsu skewer and a bowl of fiery Machiya hot wings. Our snacks change regularly so make sure to check in on our social media channels for updated information.


Address: 5 Panton Street
Transport: Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £60.
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