I don’t queue to get into a club or a bar. I don’t queue for the newest H&M collaboration. I don’t queue for a super sale. But I queue for food. Even if this means standing on the streets of Soho in London while the rain is falling, wearing a thin summer-coat, that wasn’t a wise decision considering the British temperatures. I queued outside for an hour, because the seater told us to. I queued for a restaurant that doesn’t take reservations and is always full. Where the seater also won’t take a list of names or tell you any predictions on how long it will take and will only give you the table if every guest of your party has arrived and, of course, strictly follows the line outside. If you go to have a hot tea somewhere to bypass the waiting, you’ll lose your place in line and will have to queue again. Nevertheless I queued and Koya was so worth it.*
Kavita told me, this would be her favorite restaurant in London at the moment if she had to chose one. The simple, yet beautifully designed and remarkably detailed interior is serving as the right background for a kitchen that fuses regional and seasonal British produce with Japanese food art. Their main dish is Udon, served either cold or hot and supported by a variety of daily specials. Udon is a thick wheat noodle made with a special kneading technique, that involves, legend has it, stepping on the dough with your feet. Naturally, Koya’s tremendous success is founded on the superior quality of their daily house-made, fresh Udon noodles.
We started our dinner with Tempura, aubergine on tofu and fish with edamame to continue with a huge bowl of superdelicious Udon soup. I ordered a poached egg to my seaweed Udon, which was broken open at the table. Since I shared this fantastic dinner with friends I haven’t seen in a long time, I spent so much time on talking and listening, and less time on taking pretty pictures. Luckily, the day after my visit, Nowness published a beautiful piece about the Koya Bar that just recently opened in the same street with gorgeous pictures by Lena Emery.
*A short comment is needed here, we were a party of five waiting for a table, which made the waiting a lot longer than it would take for 2 or 3 to get a table. In case you’re not up for waiting and are not more than three people dining: the bar is usually not as crowded as the restaurant and is serving almost the same menu.