Review of 'Koya'

After seeing that Koya had been voted the runner-up in it's “Cheapest Eats” category my wife and I were very much looking forward to trying it out. With it's simple wood interior, menus on the wall, and crowded tables things looked very positive to it being much like what I had experienced in Japan. I suppose it was.

We visited just after opening for dinner on a Friday with most seats already taken. We shared a table with another couple and shortly afterwards the queue for tables stretched down the street to get in. The core of the menu is udon soup with it offered in a number of ways: Hot with hot soup (from £6.20 for plain to £13.30 for duck and vegetable), cold with hot soup (£6.20 for plain to £12.80 for prawn and vegetable tempura toppings) and cold with cold soup for dipping/pouring (£6.20, again for plain, and £12.80 for prawn and vegetable tempura toppings). This is not to say they do not serve anything else, they have donburi (rice with toppings, from £9.30 for beef to £12.30 for curry and prawn tempura) along with various sides that include miso soup (£2.60) and tempura (£7.70 for vegetable and £10.80 for vegetable and prawn). There are also various daily specials on the boards showing the menu on boards hanging on the walls around the small restaurant (our daily special was clam chowder udon).

I decided on the “Buta Misa” hot udon soup (pork and miso, £8.80) which was very flavourful while my wife had Kamoden (duck donburi, £10.30) which she found a bit bland. Hers came with miso soup as well which she found a bit strong. Seeing the amazing tempura that kept being taken by the staff to other punters as it draped over each end of the bowls and looked very light, we ordered a vegetable tempura. We were given the prawn tempura and had an apology a few minutes later (and were only charged for the vegetable version). Disappointingly it was very oily but on the plus side it had two LARGE, long, prawns and several big pieces of vegetable including mushrooms, broccoli, sweet potato, and spring onion.

The biggest disappointment was the price as we paid more than £30 for two of us. As you can see from the prices above, this is not a “cheap eat” but, it is certainly a reasonably good one. I can't really say fantastic as I have had better for less money in the city (see Misato in Chinatown, for example) but I will be back to try other things, to give it a second chance and also enjoy quite an unusual style of restaurant for London, but perhaps when the hype dies down and the crowds are not so large.

Rating: “Average, but who wants to be average?”

Review Date: 2011-02-18

Cuisine: Japanese (Noodle Bar)

Address: 49 Frith Street, London W1D 4SG

Public Transport: TUBE Tottenham Court Road

Location: London (England) - Soho



Show in Google Maps  Get Directions

Telephone: +44 (0) 20 7434 4463