Cafe Review: Machi Machi (Toronto)
Machi Machi is the latest of a slew of bubble tea shops to open in Downtown Toronto.
With its convenient storefront near Wellesley Station, this could be a perfect spot for diners at nearby restaurants like Sansotei Ramen or Sabai Sabai to grab a dessert after their meal… if it weren’t full of lineups at every hour! From Friday to Saturday, we walked past the shop a couple of times and each time noticed a queue out the door.
We decided to visit on Sunday, with the idea to get there right at noon when they opened to beat the rush. When we arrived at 12:04 pm, there were already eight other tickets ahead of us. Production was on the slow side, which explains the long lines, but while we waited, we were able to snap some pics of the #aesthetic interior decor (that’s what everyone comes here for anyway, right?!).
Being such a new store, everything is still shiny and clean, which is great! No grimy tables to deal with while you sit and wait for your bubble tea. The space is quite small, with just four tiny tables and a few chairs, so it may get cramped as the day progresses.
The staff at the cafe are all very nice, and can give recommendations and explanations of each drink. They were dressed in identical cute paper bag-esque aprons, which really solidifies that Muji / Uniqlo vibe.
Strawberry Latte with Panna Cotta
The menu at the Toronto location is small, carrying just the essentials like black, oolong, and green milk tea, as well as the now-ubiquitous brown sugar pearl latte. Although Machi Machi offers these traditional beverages, we were there for the bottled drinks, of course. These are what makes the cafe stand out from its competitors, with their cute rounded containers and pastel colours.
Kevin and I shared the Strawberry Latte with Panna Cotta. I loved it! Even Kevin, who has more discerning taste when it comes to bubble tea than I do, gave it his seal of approval.
Not only is it pretty to look at, it’s genuinely a delicious drink. The latte is foamy, light-tasting, and goes down smooth. It’s delicious both on its own and shaken together with the panna cotta. (For those who aren’t familiar with panna cotta, I’d say the consistency is similar to the egg pudding you can commonly find as a bubble tea topping.) Occasionally, you’ll hit on these bits of unblended strawberry seeds—personally, I found it distracting, but it’s great to know that they are using fresh fruit in their drink.
Although you can’t control the ice and sugar level for this drink, that wasn’t a problem because the ice was very finely blended with the latte to the point where we couldn’t tell it was there. The sweetness also wasn’t overwhelming; it’s like if you asked for a 70% sugar level at most bubble tea shops.
The price is where things kind of break down. The cost for this tiny bottle, which is roughly the size of a small regular bubble tea? $9.15! As far as I can tell, they also don’t offer any sort of loyalty program for customers.
Although it’s tasty, is a drink from Machi Machi worth $9.15 and the long wait times? Maybe once or twice. I’m glad I got to try it, but I probably won’t be coming back, just because it’s quite expensive and I’m sort of in bubble tea rehab anyway. There are so many quality options for bubble tea in Toronto now that I don’t know if you’ll feel the need to come back to this one especially.
If you visit, definitely try to come right after they open so you won’t have to deal with crowds. Also, they have limited quantities of their bottled drinks, so if you come later in the day, they will likely have sold out (at the moment, they only carry 300 bottles a day, so once they sell out you’re out of luck).
Thanks for reading my review! Be sure to check out what else I ate last week in My Food Diary.