ST JAMES'S | SW1
The team behind tonkotsu ramen masters Kanada-Ya are serving up even more great Japanese comfort food, this time from just £6.50 at Machiya near Piccadilly Circus.
Knowing the exceptional quality of Kanada-Ya, I was thrilled to find Machiya's all-day menu competitively priced, yet still in smack bang central London (next to their Panton Street branch).
I went for the beef gyudon or "beef bowl" for £7.50: very thinly sliced beef over white rice, an onsen egg, red ginger, and onions. The beef is a fattier cut, which is usually simmered in a sweet and savoury dashi broth, with ingredients like soy and mirin. The result is beautifully rich and buttery beef.
Onsen eggs are cooked long and slow in warm water, resulting in silky whites and ultra rich, sticky yolks, perfect for stirring into rice. Combined with sweet onions and the sharpness of pickled ginger to cut through the beef and egg, this bowl is a total umami bomb, and I will return to eat it again and again. The bowl may not look massive, but the sheer density of its contents will easily fill most up.
Other London Cheap Eats worthy options include the omurice (chicken stock-braised rice, wrapped in omelette with truffle ketchup for £6.50); their Japanese curry (beef/vegetable for £7.50/£6.50); and the zaru soba (chilled buckwheat noodles with dashi dipping sauce for £6.50).
This place doesn't take reservations, so try and get there off peak to avoid queuing.
Words and photography | Steph Chan