Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Koya, Soho

Koya, a tiny restaurant where a queue waiting to head in seems to be the norm; and where some queue-ees actually give you the stare if they think you are trying to get ahead of them. The unfortunately lady was only trying to find a spot to tie her shoe laces.

I was quite excited when I heard about a place that makes their own udon, I guess that I was hoping to be reminded and whisk back to the Land of the Rising Sun and the delightful gourmet experience that I had there.

When Mili came down for our next London Food Tour, this became our dinner option. Being a party of 8, we had to squeezed onto a table with nary a space left to wiggle around!

Radish and Seaweed pickled in soy sauce and venigered £2.50

Lenkon Salad – green leaves and lotus rood salad £5

The salads were standard fares and were a good way to start our meal. I have always liked fried lotus chips and wish there were more in the Lenkon salad.

Moving on to starters:

Kamo Roast - Smoked duck breast £6

Lightly Vinegered Pickled Mackerel £5.50

If you like the taste of mackerel, give this a go!

Udon Time!

Buta Miso - pork and miso udon in hot broth £8.50

Niku – beef udon £8.50

Tempura Prawn Udon £9

The lonely prawn by itself in the bowl of udon.

Kinoko - Mushroom with walnut miso £10.50

I decided to go for something a little different and chose the mushroom with walnut miso.

A very robust flavour from the combination of the walnut and miso. Something different for the vegetarians or those who might want to venture out from the normal pork and beef.

Overall, you can taste the freshly made udon noodles which has more bounce, springiness and texture. Far superior to store bought versions or factory made versions used in other noodle joints. I think it is safer to stick to the Atsu-atsu dishes (hot udon in hot broth) and those seem to fare better and with the varieties available, there is bound to be one that ticks your fancy.

Saba - smoked mackerel and green leaves in hot broth £9.50

Not a good choice unless you like dishes that are really light and bland. It basically tasted like udon bathed in hot water with a side of mackerel that you can taste when you bite into it. If the green leaves were meant to infused some taste, it wasn’t very successful.

Fish & chips - battered cod served with thinly sliced deep fried renkon/lotus root £7

I really like this one, the cod was had a crispy batter and deep fried renkon always sits well with me.

Yasai Ten Hiya-Atsu - vegetarian tempura cold udon with hot broth £9.50

Ten Curry Don – Curry and Prawn Tempura £10

A semi-sweet curry with prawn tempura.

The large dinner party left with mixed reviews. The handmade udon noodles are definitely a par above and is one of the better ones that I have come across in London. Relatively inexpensive but portions can be tiny which means the larger appetites need to eat more which brings the bill up.

A good addition to Soho and am glad that it exists but not a wow one for me!

Koya, 49 Frith Street W1D 4SG
Koya on Urbanspoon


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