Tag Archives: Noodle. Restaurant

Koya Japanese Udon Noodle Restaurant @ SOHO

半年ぐらい前にオープンしてから、ずっと気になっていた讃岐うどん店「Koya(こや)」に、遅ればせながら行った。レストラン批評家からもブロガーからも好評(→記事1/2/3)、忙しい時は列が出来るぐらいの人気店。オーナーでZafferanoの元シェフのJohn Devitt氏は、パリの国虎屋で働いていたオダさんとヤマサキさんをシェフとして迎え、うどんは日本から輸入した小麦粉を使い毎日手打ち、だしは荒節とそうだ節、いりこでとるなど、そのカジュアルな店構えとは対照的に、味は本格的だ。ただ、軟水化したテムズ川の水を使っているというのが、心理的に少々気になるところだけれど。



Since its open over half a year ago, I’d been wanting to eat at Koya Japanese Sanuki Udon noodle restaurant in SOHO, and finally made it. The restaurant has been highly rated by many restaurant critiques and bloggers (→article 1/2/3), and people queue up when it is busy. The owner and a former chef of Zafferano, Mr. John Devitt invited two Japanese chefs who had experience at Kunitoraya Udon restaurant in Paris. They make fresh Udon everyday in the traditional way, using flour imported from Japan and authentic dashi stock made from scratch with katsuo-arabushi and souda-bushi (smoked and dried fish, variations on katsuobushi) and iriko (roasted and dried anchovy). The only setback for me is that the use of softened water from the river Thames – think about the color of the water and all the water traffics on the top of it!

The menu consists of three kinds of Udon – “Atsu-Atsu (hot udon in hot broth)”, “Hiya-Atsu (cold udon in hot broth)” and “Hiya-Hiya (Zaru Udon: cold udon with cold sauce to dip / Hiyashi Udon: cold sauce to pour). Koya also offers some Donburi rice bowl dishes and small plates as well. I ordered curry udon (Japanese curry, not Indian), and its noodle was exactly I expected – smooth and shiny with good koshi (elasticity; not mushy like al dente pasta. Curry stock was great, except its ingredients of eggplant/aubergine and tomatoes – in my mind, curry udon has to have sliced thin beef and cooked onions, like in M’s niku (beef) udon, which is delicious and almost perfect. If you are looking for a good bowl of Udon noodle in London, I definitely recommend Koya, as well as its cute and cozy interior (there are a lot of Japanese restaurants in London with terrible interior design, with no offence!).

There were two good Soba noodle restaurants when I lived in New York; Honmura-an in Soho and Sobaya in East village. I went to Sobaya many times as my school was nearby, looking at a Mexican chef making fresh soba noodle through a glass wall while waiting for my order. Unfortunately, more upscale Honmura-an where I saw a musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, closed in February 2007. I also liked Sakagura (means Sake storage) with a variety of Japanese Sake, and Omen restaurant from Kyoto. Though there are around 100,000 Japanese living in New York, which is nearly double of London, I have to say that in general Japanese restaurants are better in New York, both its food and its atmosphere. Now I am hoping a good Soba noodle restaurant would open in London!

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