Review: Koya, Soho

Cuisine: Udon noodles
Price: £££
Swank Levels: 3/5
Overall: 4/5

This restaurant is exactly what you would expect from a small niche Soho eatery. Instead of swank, Koya is the epitome of Soho’s eclectic cool.
The doorway is veiled with a deep blue door curtain hanging down from the roof which flaps against you as you enter. This leads in to a very small box shaped room, filled with neatly aligned light bamboo-like wooden table and chairs and simply lit cream walls.

Would I Want Seconds?

Koya’s speciality is it’s Udon noodles. These thick yet soft flour noodles originate in the South of Japan and are freshly made in the restaurant using traditional method, with wheat flour which is imported from Japan. Alongside this, Koya does serve a few other dishes such as tempura starters and miso soup, but the short one sided menu is limited.

However, what Koya's dishes do vary on is the temperatures of the Udon noodles. As diners can choose from atsu-atsu, or hot udon in hot broth; hiya-atsu, cold udon served with hot broth; and hiya-hiya, cold udon served with dipping sauce.

As an additional quirk factor, their tea is served in nicely atmospheric mini silver tea pots.

As a starter I ordered Yasai Ten Mori (assorted vegetable tempura) to share and Tori Nikomi (Chicken and vegetable hot pot) as my main. I opted for an additional onsen (slow-poached) egg into my mix and delivered to my table was a large steaming bowl filled with udon noodles, chicken pieces, broth and a perfectly poached egg. The dish was warming and satisfying, the hot broth leaning very much towards comfort food. However I couldn’t fit in any seconds after that!

Could I Afford Seconds?

Koya is novel because it serves up one potion. This also means that they are very good at cooking this one option. As a result, a bowl of noodles is on average £10 depending on the additional toppings you choose. This might seem a bit much but for the quality, portion and authenticity of the restaurant I would say that this is rightly prices.

In addition the drinks are a bit highly priced, so stick with a pot of tea or some tap water if your after value for money.

Overall: 4/5

Koya is Udon-Noodle-Newbie friendly as staff here a happy to advise.
Because of it's popualrity, timing is key to secure a table without waiting for too long, as a queue does build up outside on most evenings,
In all, it is definitely worth one visit, if only to try out it’s uniqueness.


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