"Udon restaurant draws in the crowds"Review Rating: Reviewed by Leila
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