09 March 2015

Koya: The best Udon in London

Koya in Soho : source
I am being biased, I haven't really tried udon elsewhere in London, but I have been to Koya three times now and I had lots of udon when I was in Japan. The noodles in Koya are as good as the ones I had in Japan. And that's saying something.

If you don't know what udon is, it is a simple dish, thick noodles in a broth with some vegetables or meat or both. Warming and filling it makes for a hearty winter dish.

The thing I like about Koya is that it does one thing and does it well. They have some side dishes of course but really its all about the noodles. But you cant get bored either - each time I've been there, they have had seasonal specialities and on my recent visit on Friday, I ordered both my udon and small plate from there.

Small plate - Char grilled tempura turnips
Udon with mussels - seasonal special
Koya is a small restaurant based in Soho. They don't take bookings and usually, there is a line outside, but it moves fast, on my last visit I only had to wait 15 minutes to get a table. It was worth it though, I got my favourite table which over looks the kitchen. I could watch the chefs prepare each plate, see the attention to detail in each cut vegetable, garnish and plating, hear the clanking of pots, roar of the gas stoves and bubbling of water cooking the delicious noodles while devouring my own noodles.

Seating by the kitchen
I love Koya, not just because it makes great Udon, I love it because it feels like a place I could have walked into in Japan. Its small and busy and has great attention to detail. For an hour or so, I feel like I've taken a trip back to Japan minus the expensive plane fare :) If you haven't been and you love Ramen or Pho, you should definitely give Udon a try. And do let me know what you think ;)

Have you found a restaurant that takes you back to somewhere you've been?


  1. now that's some tasty info there :D

  2. Utterly delicious - proper authentic Japanese food is hard to beat!

  3. This place sounds great. When I eventually visit London I will see go there.
    I remember in 1994 (oh my gosh , as it that long ago ) I was living in London and taken by friends to Wagamama, which was THE place to go. No bookings, a long queue and funky long shared tables,, waiters with some sort of computer based ordering system (or was it headsets?) . As travelling Australians form Brisbane we were amazed. Now, Wagamama is everywhere and boring. I am looking forward to your new London discoveries
    (and always overwhelmed to see my sketch on your blog header - thanks)

    1. So happy to have inspired a visit to Koya! I get what you mean about Wagamama, cant believe they have been around that long!
      No, thank YOU! - I do love your sketch, it fits my blog perfectly :)

  4. I haven't been to a single udon restaurant in London (lots of ramen) so am looking forward to trying this! I miss udon so much.

    1. Yay! Do let me know what you think of it :)
      Which Ramen place do you recommend?

  5. I've been meaning to try Koya for ages, but just keep forgetting! I really must make it there one of these days :-)