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Square Meal Review of Koya ?

Frith Street’s chic, minimalist Koya has always stood out from its ramen-touting competitors, but this hip noodle joint has recently taken its udon obsession to another level. As well as opening the all-day Koya Bar next door (where English breakfast udon are among the attractions), it has also branched out into tasting-menu evenings at the original site’s five-seater ‘back bench’ (the only bookable berths in the place). The basic menu of hot and cold udon noodles with broths or dipping sauces (plus add-ons such as tempura scraps and slow-poached egg) would be enough on its own, but there’s also a seasonal specials board offering Anglo-Japanese innovations of grouse donburi (rice bowls) or grilled girolles and aubergine udon. Kernel beer and Alsatian Edelzwicker wine join Japanese teas and sakés on a smartly chosen drinks list.


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  1. Published : Wednesday, 31 October 2012

    LONDONcalling :: Koya

    Koya is one of those places that I always wanted to try but other new openings sort of got in the way, and it got pushed down my must visit list. Truth be told Japanese food has not really exited me in the past and as this place specialises in Udon noodles it felt just a little restrictive menu wise.Something aroused my inner self when on twitter someone was singing their praises about the specials board. So hey ho lets give it a whirl then.Its been a couple of months since our visit and back then it was a nice sunny day so a hot steaming bowl of noodles was off our menu, even a cold bowl did not appeal.A queue greeted...
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  1. Published : Friday, 27 June 2014

    Dancing In High Heels :: THE BACKBENCH #3, KOYA

    I'm back again...for the third time at The BackBench.I tried very hard to resist from eating too much earlier in the day at work, and managed to survive nibbling on three mini chocolate brioche buns and a cup of coffee. I had clearly built up quite an appetite by the time I arrived at Koya, and (elegantly) plonked myself in the middle of the bench.Having more recently acquired a liking for sake, I also ordered the sake flight of three 90mL glasses - nothing too hardcore on a 'school-night'  | Cherry Tomatoes & Shiso Dashi | Fresh and juicy tomatoes, in a very light shiso dashi.This was paired with Kamoizumi Junmai...
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  1. Published : Tuesday, 15 April 2014

    Dancing In High Heels :: THE BACKBENCH #1, KOYA

    Celebrating its 4th year anniversary since it opened in 2010, Koya is undoubtedly still one of the best places in London for comforting Japanese food. After failing to get an evening reservation, I opted instead for the afternoon sitting at 1.30pm. Having rushed after finishing my dance class, I arrived slightly flushed and earlier than I expected. I was the first guest to arrive and perched myself at the end of the back bench, in front of the open kitchen.  When all the other guests arrived, Chef Junya Yamasaki gave us a short introduction of the concept behind starting The BackBench - the opportunity to go further...
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  1. Published : Friday, 26 July 2013

    vialaporte :: Koya // Soho // London

    A Bib Gourmand sets a pretty clear expectation in your mind; tasty food at a reasonable price. Well, Koya in Soho...
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  1. Published : Tuesday, 20 May 2014

    Dancing In High Heels :: THE BACKBENCH #2, KOYA

    After a really enjoyable experience at the first BackBench last month, there was no doubt that I was just as excited, if not more, to grab a place at the second one.The BackBench concept enables Chef Junya to experiment further with his dishes to bring a Koya-style tasting menu. Limited to only five spaces per seating, the experience is much more intimate and personal, giving the opportunity for interaction and being able to observe the different dishes being prepared in front of us.The use of freshly picked seasonal ingredients means that the menu is always different, with dishes being subject to change, even on...
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  1. Published : Saturday, 21 December 2013

    Samphire and Salsify :: Koya, Soho

    Koya is a Japanese udon restaurant on Berwick Street in Soho. Whenever I’ve walked past there’s always been a mahoosive queue out the door. When we joined the end of it one evening for a spot of dinner, we were pleasantly surprised to be seated rather quickly...
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  1. I don't want a big flat noodle Cosmo Kramer (Seinfeld episode “The Virgin”) Koya is a small Japanese udon noodle place in Soho. Simple decor, cozy, wooden communal tables, a bar in front of the kitchen at the back, wood panels with the menu and some blackboards with specials on chalk on the walls, and Bib Gourmand award by the Michelin Guide. The place is usually packed so we took a chance for lunch on the bank holiday. Marisol at the placeWe started with the Kakuni, a braised pork belly in cider. It was lovely, nice broth, wonderful flavours, perfectly cooked. Then we shared Kamo Roast or roast duck, nice dish...
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  1. Published : Thursday, 14 November 2013

    Drifting Epicure :: Koya

    Koya is a serious Japanese udon (noodles) restaurant and also one of my favourite places in Soho for a quick meal. The only problem is that more often than not it involves a bit of queueing. Udon is the thing to order here as half of the menu consist of udon items. There are three ways to have it here: hot noodles in hot broth, cold noodles with hot broth and cold noodles with cold dipping sauce. Personally I prefer to have the noodles (cold) served on the side.

    The space is very small with one bigger room and a small space sitting in front of an equally small kitchen...
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  1. Published : Monday, 30 December 2013

    The Cutlery Chronicles :: koya, soho - review

    There is something to be said about a restaurant with the guts to pare down the interiors to four walls, a tiled floor, basic wooden furniture, and a curtain at the entrance. It’s a combination that doesn't fail to pique interest as it often translates to an assurance in the offering. And Koya in Soho has just that - oodles of understated confidence. And oodles of noodles.

    As is typical of Japanese aesthetics, the lack of exaggeration or pretence found inside is reflected in the honest food. Whilst the country is home to an array of carbohydrate options to accompany a bowl of steaming stock, Koya’s contribution...
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  1. Published : Monday, 23 April 2012

    Her Favourite Food :: Koya

    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...
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  1. Published : Wednesday, 8 August 2012

    fatmanclaphand :: Koya: chewing the duck fat

    She was late, but it didn't matter. We would have to wait anyway, because it had happened again. I was queuing for my dinner.

    I shouldn't moan. We queue in McDonald's and no one moans, so why moan when a better meal is in the offing? When it comes to Koya, that comparison isn't that unfair. It's a noodle restaurant. In Japan it's fast food. It's everywhere. Whether it's as good as Koya I don't know, but I hope it is because I wasn't that impressed. If every Japanese street had a Koya on it, I think the questions I left the restaurant asking myself might be answered quite quickly. And that could only spell...
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  1. Published : Wednesday, 6 March 2013

    Forks-Up Restaurant Reviews :: Koya Restaurant Review

    Koya doesn’t take bookings, and when my dining partner and I visited one Wednesday lunch time, there was a queue out of the door at 12.30pm. Fortunately, the quick turnaround of tables meant we didn’t have to wait long. The interior décor is as minimalist as the exterior, and the tables are quite tightly packed in, but the atmosphere still feels welcoming...
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Essential Details for Koya

  • Address: 49 Frith Street, London W1D 4SG
  • Telephone: 020 7434 4463
  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 12N-3pm 5.30-10.30pm (Sun -10pm)

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