Thursday, 2 February 2012

Koya - noodles with everything

There are many Japanese restaurants in London serving up amazing authentic food but for a while now I've been searching for a place that serves proper tempura and udon (thick noodles) without all the fuss of booking a table months in advance (e.g. Nobu) and prices that won't give me a heart attack! Something like this:

I had this in a small restaurant in Akihabara, Tokyo. It's very simple, thick udon noodles in a hot broth (refillable) served with tempura which is normally seafood or vegetables battered and fried. After reading a lot of reviews of cheap Japanese eateries I came across Koya which is in a great location, right in the heart of soho, but it's easy to miss. This charming little Japanese eatery is tiny, plain and minimalistic.

No reservations required, in fact they don't take reservations. It's exactly what I was looking for. The staff were very friendly, the seating arrangements means you might be seating next to other diners on the same table. The menu is very simple, basically noodles with everything! Or donburi (rice bowls). I ordered green tea:

Ten Mori (2 prawns and vegetable tempura) at £11.70!!

I wouldn't call this place cheap, it's reasonable but definitely not cheap. Or maybe I'm cheap, I don't know you be the judge but tempura shouldn't cost that much, granted its the best tempura I've had in London. My main was of course udon. They serve their noodles in three ways, hot noodles in hot broth, cold noodles in cold broth and cold noodles with cold dipping sauce. I had kinoko, hot udon with mushrooms and walnut paste.

The little brown thing on the small plate is the 'walnut miso'. I wasn't too keen on the walnut paste, it was sweet and I didn't want to add it to my udon, I'm def not a fan of sweet and sour. But the udon was amazing!! Totally authentic, a bit chewy and just delicious. My friend had beef donburi served with miso soup (again the miso soup was so good!) which got rave reviews too!

I loved this place and will definitely be going there regularly for my tempura fix. Our bill was just over £40 incl. service charge. It's worth every penny because the food is so good!

Location:49 Frith st. Soho, London