Caitlin, who usually does food reviews, has been extremely busy so I’ve decided to take it on for now. I had to share this place because it is a cuisine that is my favourite.
When I travel I don’t usually focus on the food which I think has been a huge oversight on my part as I’ve had spectacular food all over the world. It is a huge part of experiencing another culture so I am making a mental note to remember to include food I’ve consumed in travel posts.
Japan is one of the few countries where I can say that I never had one bad meal, not once and I was there for nearly 3 weeks. Impressive right? Also 90% of those meals did not include sushi. Most people think sushi right away when I suggest to get Japanese food but that is not the be all and end all of it. There are many other dishes for the sushi adverse to try but for the record I do love sushi.
I don’t eat out often in London because I find there is so much choice and a lot of it is hit or miss. What’s worse than spending money on bad food? So that is why I am happy to share this gem found in Soho. Koya is a Japanese restaurant which specialises in udon. This is thick, white udon, made with wheat flour imported from Japan, then kneaded for extra chewiness.
There are other things on the menu but this is what they specialise in, so don’t go if you aren’t going to have udon. You can vary how you want to have your noodles according to temperature (hot udon with hot broth, cold with hot broth, or cold with cold dipping sauce); and topping (from various meats to mushrooms with walnut miso). Ask the staff to advise if you are unsure.
The restaurant has the traditional curtain above the entrance and once you step inside (probably after waiting a while, as it’s very popular) you see a small, fairly minimalist room with bench seating. The service is great, the price ranging from £6.70-£14.70 for a main and the food is delicious. I’ve only been twice and gotten the same dish. However I tasted some of what D and Erin had and I clearly made the winning choice. I had curry udon. Japanese curry is different from every other curry I’ve had so if you’ve had a different curry before and disliked it still give this a chance. It is a much milder flavouring.
Besides the normal drinks menu they also have a self-made ginger tea (do try). Or pair it with a Japanese beer. Remember to be mindful of the time if you are going as I have been deterred at least once or twice because of the wait.
Find Koya Japanese Udon:
49 Frith Street W1D 4SG
Tube: Tottenham Court Road