Update : February 2011
Hadn't been to Koya for what seems like an age, but as the wife is off home for a couple of weeks, we decided to have lunch at our favourite Udon noodle restaurant.
As ever everything is perfect, the broth is as favourable as ever. The Prawn Tempura Atsu-Atsu seems to be a main stay with us. But with the addition of Tanuki (extra batter) mixed in with the soup is a real winner.
The Ten Curry Don is the best curry sauce I've had outside of Japan. Really deep and rich in flavour. The accompanying Miso soup was a little weak and lacking in any strong miso flavour.
But Koya is still streets ahead of any other restaurant serving noodles in London.
I had to nail my feet to the floor so I wouldn’t go visit Koya when it opened. I’m kinda of the belief that every new restaurant has its tweaking problems. There is always something that isn’t right on its first few weeks. If it’s a good place these will get ironed out and run smoothly. From what I could make out Koya had no such problems, and my expectations grow through me waiting. Thankfully it turned out to be better than I expected.
Maybe I was going mad but everytime I walked past Koya, it was calling out to me. I could hear a soft whisper calling my name. Something was calling me to come in and try their noodles. I could hear a voice whispering that they had good noodles. I had to eat there, and as they specialise in Udon and nothing else. They had to be good.
Koya is very simple in it’s design. It’s not big on clutter, but where is in Japan. The menu is listed on boards on both walls and in keeping with the design of the restaurant, it’s also uncluttered. It’s short and sweet. It’s broken down into roughly four parts.
Atsu Atsu - Hot Udon in a cold broth.
Hiya Atsu – Cold Udon with hot broth.
Hiya Hiya – Cold udon with cold broth
As it was such a beautiful hot sunny afternoon I opted for a Cold Udon with a hot broth with the addition of some pork. Lina as she is a bit traditional in her soups had Atsu Atsu Niku. Hot Udon with a hot Broth with beef.
The meals took their time to come, which I was really happy about, as the expectation had more time to reach unobtainable heights.
When they finally arrived, not only were we taken back to Japan, but also I think I was smiling like a little Cheshire cat. Stupid as it sounds, I was truly happy. The cold noodles dipped in the hot broth for a second made them a delight to eat. The crispy seaweed on top added extra textures I would never have thought possible in London. The broth was rich and meaty but still very delicate. I am so jealous that people can do this with their stocks. The noodles were cooked to perfection and tasted great. Obviously kneading that dough by feet really helps.
Lina’s soup was just as good but totally different. It had a rich miso taste to it that was the other end of the spectrum of mine. Excellent.
The waitress came round to inform us the kitchen was closing and if we wanted to order something else. I had my head over the bowl slurping up some noodles that I didn’t look up, but just shook my head.
That was probably some of the best soup I have tasted since we left Asia. Rich and full of flavour. Awesome. I didn’t think we would get great stuff here in London. But we have.
At £10 a pop the noodles are not the cheapest in London, but they are the best. Oh yes.