Hidden away at the heart of Soho is a little piece of Japan.
With its simple design, it’s not much of a looker and you might have passed it hundreds of times without even realising.
But behind Koya’s traditional curtain is one of London’s most authentic Japanese restaurants.
No sushi here though; Koya focuses on home-style food, especially udon noodles, of which they offer dozens of variations.
Get there early, grab a couple of seats at the communal wooden bar and make your choice (we went for a bit of everything).
Sit back, relax and let the incredibly calm atmosphere soak in while the chefs make their magic.
Japanese green tea absolutely mandatory, of course.
A bit of people watching is always a good thing to indulge in as well.
Unless you’re too busy eye-ing up the gorgeous ceramic dishes, of course! ?
Plates arrive when they’re ready…
Starting with Pickled apples, puntarella and shiso salad.
One of the daily special and a very fresh and Spring-y take on Japanese pickles.
Followed by another special, the Agedashi tofu with wild garlic and ginger.
Incredibly fresh and truly remarkable in every single way.
So good in fact we didn’t waste a drop!
Buta Miso Udon noodles (with pork and miso).
Sweet, comforting and umami all at once.
One of Koya’s specialities and an absolute must order!
Last but not least, the Ten Curry Don.
AKA the best tempura prawn I’ve ever eaten, covered in Japanese curry sauce and served atop a bowl of sticky rice.
With some miso soup on the side. Possibly the most comforting yet healthy lunch in the whole of Soho.
And definitely the most relaxing one. koya was busy for the entire time we were there, yet it was the calmest restaurant environment I’ve ever set foot in. A very positive vibe, and my new favourite place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the London life.