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|Address:||49 Frith Street, London W1D 4SG|
|Tel:||020 7434 4463|
|Price: £33.00||Wine: £24.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 12N-3pm 5.30-10.30pm (Sun -10pm)|
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Koya – I’ve been meaning to give this place a try for a while now. Since opening in 2010, I’ve come across nothing but good stuff about this place from the likes of the Guardian and Timeout – so, I was pretty excited to be there!
I arrived promptly at 5.30pm and there was noticeably already a small queue forming outside the shop front, which really just added to the excitement.
Doors opened and we were all promptly seated by the waitress at hand. There was just a massive burst of people and the next thing I knew – it was already 80% full. The first thing you notice is the décor – it’s all wooden but in the bare, simple, Japanese café like sense, which gives off an informal, chatty type vibe.
From the menu, I ordered myself the Niku (beef) Udon in broth (£9.30) and a side portion of roast duck (£6.20) to go with it. I got the feeling their clientele are mostly diverse Londoners, who are well-informed and genuine foodies at heart.
And it didn’t take long for the beef to come. I couldn’t help but dive right in to the noodles, and they were exceptionally good. The texture and flavour was simply delicious. I’ve had Udon noodles before from all kinds of different joints in London (you can even buy them in packets from China town) but this place Koya, was by far the best. You can tell the noodles were of fresh produce.
The duck slices came shortly afterwards, presented in a tiny square dish in a watered down vinaigrette/pickled type dressing and with spring onion garnish. They were thinly sliced, slightly pink and were accompanied by a little English mustard dip.
And well? They were good! Succulent and well flavoured – just as duck should be.
Now back to the noodles, the beef, which were actually delicate shavings of beef, were again tender and succulent. What to say about the broth? The flavoured stock, mixed with fresh spring onion and onions was simply awesome. There is something about beef with onions, the broth just brings it all together.
So the verdict: I thoroughly enjoyed my meal at Koya. The staffs were polite, efficient and they even spoke Japanese, which made it uber cool because I know it’s not quite authentic Japanese but the essence is there.
My only quarrel was with the tight seating arrangements. Tables of two-by-twos were horizontally placed from the walls, which means if you were unfortunately (or fortunately) seated by a wall, you’d have to politely ask your neighbour to stand up (or shuffle forwards) to let you through if you needed to go use the washroom or something. I imagine there’s usually a lot of shuffling about as the place was already full by 6.00pm, and with people queuing outside!
Still, I can’t complain too much, the food was delicious, staff was good and the place seemed clean.
So I’ll definitely be back to try out more of their dishes!