20 May 2013


London, UK

Koya is a Japanese noodle bar in Soho that specialises in udon; thick soft flour noodles. There is usually a long line outside, but it moves quite quickly, and it’s definitely worth the wait. There are three main types of dishes to choose from; hot udon in hot broth, cold udon served next to hot broth and cold udon served with a cold sauce. These options are meant to reflect the seasons, meaning you eat hot noodles in the winter and cold in the summer. The last time I went it was sunny and warm outside, so I opted for the cold Kinoko Hiya-Atsu (mushrooms with walnut miso). This is a very good dish, with a great set of textures. Udon is my favourite kind of noodle, and Koya’s authentic Japanese ones are chewy and amazing. Apparently they are made on the premises every day in the traditional way that involves kneading the dough with their feet. I couldn’t get enough of the walnut miso, and when my friend tried she also had to order some on the side for her dish. The broth, however, was lacking a bit of flavour, which led me to add a lot of chilli powder. My friend ordered the hot Niku (beef) and I had a taste. In my experience, the hot Atsu-Atsu dishes are generally better. The £12 bowls are not as big as I would have wanted, so a starter or a side is necessary to fill you up. We went for the Kamo Roast, which is duck served in a really tasty broth with spicy mustard. Koya overall feels healthier and lighter than Bone Daddies, but this is perhaps a compromise that means their noodles lack some of the punchy tastes of the latter. In any case I wholeheartedly recommend Koya, even though it doesn’t get the top score of the HangerMeter. 


49 Frith Street, London, W1D 4SG

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