koya noodle bar

When word got around that Koya was closing down at the end of May, I was kicking myself for not having tried it earlier. I'd heard good things about this udon noodle place, but it somehow kept getting put off - inevitable when there are so many restaurants to try! So just a couple of weeks before it closed, when Angela suggested we go and try it before it was too late, I was all in.

You might be wondering why I'm even bothering to write about Koya when it's already closed. Here's the little plot twist (sounds so much more exciting than it actually is): the queue for the Koya restaurant was too long to bother with, so we went basically next door to their noodle bar, which actually has the same menu and they are remaining open for the forseeable future. It's all counter seating, so not ideal for groups, but for pairs it's perfectly fine and I quite like it for the kind of food they offer.

After about a 20-25 minute wait, we were seated and promptly studied the menu... and ordered quite a lot. For the noodles, I chose the hot duck broth with cold udon noodles, and Angela went for the hot udon with beef. We shared a bunch of sides which is what pushed us to the limit, belly-wise: tempura, agedashi tofu, and pork belly. 

As a Japanese person, I'm always going to judge places like this a little more harshly - but I'm happy to say that I really enjoyed it. It's nothing spectacular, and I think the udon portions are not very big for the price you pay, overall it's a nice place to go for some comfort food and good, authentic flavour. We definitely left very full (although we did manage to stop off for Gelupo gelato afterwards - we know how to eat), and I would probably go back if I was in the mood for that kind of Japanese cuisine. I do think that udon for £12 is a pretty steep, though - I can't help but think I could make the exact same thing at home for a few pounds! If they were under £10, I would have no complaints, but maybe I'm just being picky.

All in all, you can be glad that Koya Bar is still open and it's worth a visit!

Koya Bar
50 Frith Street
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{no reservations}

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