Earlier this week I took a trip to Koya Bar on Frith Street in Soho. Koya Bar has only just opened but the popular original Koya has been around for a while now.
Koya Bar, as its name suggests, is one long bar…
The decor is plain yet beautiful. White walls and blond wood permeate the room with occasional collections of Japanese crockery. The cliché normally used about Japanese design is ‘understated elegance’ but clichés usually exist for a reason.
Koya Bar, Iike Koya, is essentially an udon noodle bar. Its menu has over two pages of hot and cold udon noodles and its website proclaims the Japanese proverb ‘noodle saves planet’. You can order Atsu-Atsu (hot udon with hot broth), Hiya-Atsu (cold udon with hot broth), and Hiya-Hiya (cold udon with sauce to dip or pour). Although Koya Bar has all the outward appearance of a thoroughly un-Anglicised Japanese eatery its menu has the occasional nod to the cuisine of its host country. If you’re in the mood you can choose an English Breakfast or Fish and Chips. Both are excellent.
On the day I visited I was feeling a little under the weather and so opted for the Kaiso Salad (mixed seaweed) followed by the Ten Curry Don (a bowl of prawn tempura, curry and rice).
Both came quickly, were served with a smile, and were incomparably better than their equivalents at a well-known Japanese chain that has a name beginning with W.
If you’re in Soho, fancy udon noodles or donburi, and don’t want to spend a fortune this new opening is a fine option for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Koya Bar, 50 Frith Street, London W1D 4SQ.