Monday, 7 June 2010

Koya review - best udon in London

Address: 49 Frith Street, London W1D 4SQ
Tel: 020 7434 4463
Nearest Tube station: Tottenham Court Road
/ Leicester Square

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Price: below £15pp
Service charge: N.A.
Taste: ****
Service: ***
Ambience: **
Suitable for: those who love their udon chewy
Many people have raved about Koya, the new kid on the block which is apparently a udon specialist. It is rather centrally located, along Frith Street, just opposite Chinatown. I was in the area one day and decided to give it a try.

Koya's decor is minimalist, just rows of wooden tables and chairs/benches with a large menu mounted on the wall. Probably the most interesting thing about its decor would be its mosaic floor. I was there for an early dinner at around 6p.m. and it was already pretty packed. By the time we were seated and placed our orders, a queue was forming outside. Be prepared to share your table with others as the tables are meant for groups of 4 and 6 so it is probably not a good place to go if you want to linger over a meal.


Koya offers hot udon in hot broth or cold udon with hot broth and various toppings to go with them. It also has a few rice dishes, but the udon dishes greatly outnumber them. It was a cold day so I went straight for the hot udon in hot broth with prawn tempura. Koya had some interesting side dishes as well. I was very tempted by the pork belly cooked in cider but as I wasn't particularly hungry that day, decided to save it for another day instead.

My udon didn't disappoint. The udon was springy and the broth was flavourful. The tempura was light and crispy and my only complaint was that at £9, I would have dearly loved another tempura (instead of just the one). My friend's cold udon with hot broth didn't go down that well though. While he liked the texture of the noodles which went particularly went well with the seaweed shreds mixed with the noodles, he found the accompanying hot broth a tad too salty.

Koya is clearly a place which takes pride in the food it serves and takes it seriously, something which its neighbouring Chinatown restaurants could very well learn from. However given its pricing, its no reservations policy and the long queue required to secure a table, it is probably a place where I would go again only if I am in the area.

TT, a regular contributor to both Singaporean in London and London Chow, loves her food to death. She would give anything for a good tempura. Do leave a comment if you know of a good place that serves just that.

Koya on Urbanspoon

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HungryinLondon said...

I fully agree with your review, the queuing and price kind of puts you off... even though the udon are lovely!

dave said...

Same same, although I seem to be the luckiest man in London, as I never had to queue here or at Tayyabs. Pot luck I guess.
But, yeah some of the best noodles I had outside of Asia.

mrfoodie said...

Great review. I love Koya. I'm lucky too. I didn't have to queue as I went on a Saturday around 12pm... but an hour later and I would have been. The noodles were just great, as was the stock they were in... I really enjoyed the pork belly braised in cider too