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The lowdown on udon
An Irish-owned and thoroughly convincingly Japanese noodle bar, Koya ('small house/shack') imports ingredients from the East and recreates something very delicious and foreign-tasting just seconds north of Soho's Old Compton St. The emphasis here is on superior quality udon noodles (the thick ones), which are made daily in the basement and served either hot or cold, in highly recommended subtly smoky-flavoured soup if desired. Those accustomed to strong eastern/Tokyo flavours will notice here the more delicate western Japanese take on miso. In keeping with the food, the decor is simple but artfully designed and not sterile. A small-scale response to big, boisterous but still OK (just) Wagamama, Koya likewise might ask you to share a table and can get a bit noisy, though out back there's a quieter pint-sized room for four seaters who don't mind slurping inches away from the open kitchen. Prices are very fair, ever so slightly at the higher end of budget. Opened in 2010. In September 2013 sibling Koya Bar opened just two doors away, operating as a more traditional Japanese noodle bar, with similar menu, including items no longer available at the mothership, which is expanding its menu in other directions. Koya Bar opens for breakfast, from 8.30, with Japanese rice porridge, kedgeree etc.
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