My first visit to Koya was way back in 2012, when the portion sizes were bigger and the broth slightly tastier.
Kaiso seaweed atsu-atsu hot udon (£11.20)
The noodles are far superior to udon you will find in any other Japanese restaurant. These are chewy al-dente slippery worms of deliciousness, made on site, which is so rare nowadays.
I even took my Japanese mother there and she enjoyed it.
I’ve tried the pickles and natto but never anything else. I really should. (If you follow them on instagram @koyabar you can see all their daily specials).
Otsukemono home-made pickles (£2.90)
One bowl of udon is just so satisfying and you don’t really want anything else afterwards. During the winter the hot broth will warm you up, and on a sweltering sunny day you can have refreshing cold noodles with cold sauce to dip or pour. Perfect all year round. The delicious food is aided by a Kirin and Kernel (or Five Points in Koya bar) beer, nice minimal decor and friendly staff. The Koya bar next door is quite similar but serves Tempura Udon, you sit at a bar (Japan ramen bar style), and you feel more rushed to give up your seat to the next noodle-hungry Londoner.
Left to right: Buta miso atsu-atsu hot udon (£9.90), Tempura atsu-atsu hot udon (£10.30), Kaiso seaweed atsu-atsu hot udon (£11.20). I’ve also tried the saba mackerel udon (delicious) and natto as a topping, which goes well with the hot broth.
If only I ate meat I would love to try the Backbench tasting menu.
And a fun fact: other than my house, Koya is the only street address that I always seem to remember. I think it’s a sign.