49 Frith Street, Soho, London

Udon restaurant draws in the crowds

Address:49 Frith Street
Map:Map & nearby
Nearest Station:Tottenham Court Road
Opening Hours:
Mon:12:00 - 15:00
17:30 - 22:30
Tue:12:00 - 15:00
17:30 - 22:30
Wed:12:00 - 15:00
17:30 - 22:30
Thu:12:00 - 15:00
17:30 - 22:30
Fri:12:00 - 15:00
17:30 - 22:30
Sat:12:00 - 15:00
17:30 - 22:30
Sun:12:00 - 15:00
17:30 - 22:00
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AIL Score

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About: This unsuspecting udon restaurant became a hit immediately after opening, with queues all the way onto the pavement. They specialise in one item only, and here you can choose to have your noodles hot or cold, in hot or cold broth or with broth on the side. Happily their other = dishes are fantastic too, like the pork belly slow-cooked in cider and a fantastic take on fish and chips with cod tempura and lotus leaf crisps. Prices are keen and there are usually plenty of Japanese people eating here, always a good sign.

Koya features in these AIL lists...

Best restaurants for noodle-lovers
Thick udon noodles are the speciality here, served with cold or hot broth and a variety of ingredients, like smoked mackerel, beef shabushabu and pork and miso.If you canít get a table here try Koya Bar next door, where thereís ashorter menu.

Koya features and articles

The All In One Ultimate Restaurant List Interview: John Devitt
One of Londonís Top 100 Restaurants 2013
Added on July 9, 2013

All In London talks to John Devitt
We chat to John Devitt from Koya
Added on July 4, 2012

"Udon restaurant draws in the crowds"

Review Rating: 8 / 10
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There is a long queue of people waiting in the rain to get into Koya. Itís not an exclusive nightclub, nor is it a new chic Pan-Asian venture by Alan Yau, in fact itís a rather average looking eatery that looks like the management couldnít be bothered to do up. So what attracts the madding crowd to this, yet another Japanese restaurant in the heart of Soho? Well, itís the udon, a type of thick wheatflour noodle.

There are various ways of eating your udon, hot in a hot broth, cold with cold broth on the side, or cold with hot broth on the side. You can have mushrooms, pork, duck or mixed seaweed in your dish among other ingredients, as well as greedily adding tempura or a poached egg as a topping We sample a heavily perfumed smoked mackerel hot broth with the thick noodles swimming inside; the pork and miso paste has meaty chunks that fall apart to the touch, with the cold noodles served separately and trying to do an escaping act every time I attempt to clutch them with my chop sticks. Sides include a wonderful take on fish and chips Ė chunks of cod in crispy golden tempura batter with lotus leaf crisps and rice wine vinegar.

People come and go quickly and staff are very efficient, with an eye on those waiting outside; much of the clientele appear to be Japanese and manage to put my udon-handling skills to shame, but itís not enough to deter me from returning to try the other options (my neighbourís duck and vegetable hot pot looks appetising). Might do a little practising at home first.

Leila reviewed Koya on Thu 03 Mar 2011

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