Back in March I popped into Koya in Frith St with my Dad for a mid-week dinner. It’s been on my list for a few years, and I was delighted to finally make it there. Although the likes of Bone Daddies and Tonkotsu are far more in vogue, I’ve been keen to try this stalwart of udon for ages and I’m glad I did.
I ordered the Buta Miso with cold udon noodles which was super tasty. A flavourful, salty and smoky broth, that was absolute balm on this particular evening as it was freezing cold and raining outside. With pork mince, a savoury paste that I’d never experienced but really enjoyed, and some chopped spicy green chilli, and spring onions it was a really satisfying bowl of soup. I wasn’t as keen on the noodles to be honest. They were much thicker and dough-like in consistency than I was expecting – but I am going to give them a few more tries before disregarding them.
My Dad ordered the ‘Ten Curry Don Donburi’ or in other words prawn tempura with a curry sauce served over rice. This was delicious and moreish – in fact so moreish that we ended up ordering another, full portion of prawn tempura – fantastic. The curry was mild and creamy, the prawns juicy and succulent and coated in a crisp and flavourful light tempura batter.
We also ordered a special that was available that particular day – a lemon sole dish that was presented in a way I’ve never seen before and that was so, so clever and intricate, I would imagine it took great skill to prepare. The whole fish was served on a bed of shredded lettuce and with a wedge of lemon, and somehow the chef had managed to remove the entire skeleton of the fish, so the entire backbone was sticking out of the fish at a jaunty angle. Aside from looking impressive, the fish was superb. The fish had been fried and the crispy, skin on the outside was crunchy, salty and delicious, whilst the delicate white fish on the inside was cooked to perfection - light and flaky, with its almost gentle flavour.
We enjoyed a very satisfying meal in Koya which came in around the £70 mark and I would certainly return – but next I must try some of the other udon places that are now dotted all around London.