Nestled in the vibrant heart of London’s Soho, Koya Soho stands as a culinary haven, drawing food enthusiasts into a world where the artistry of Japanese cuisine is beautifully showcased. This hidden gem is renowned for its dedication to one of Japan’s most beloved comfort foods – udon noodles. Join us on a gastronomic journey as we explore the distinctive charm and delectable offerings of Koya Soho.
The History of Koya Soho:
Koya Soho’s story begins with the founders’ passion for bringing authentic Japanese udon to the bustling streets of London. Established in 2010 by John Devitt and Shuko Oda, Koya Soho quickly gained recognition for its commitment to traditional Japanese culinary techniques and the use of high-quality, locally sourced ingredients.
As you step into Koya Soho, you are greeted by an intimate and unassuming setting. The minimalist décor, featuring wooden furnishings and subtle Japanese accents, creates an inviting atmosphere. The open kitchen allows diners to witness the meticulous craftsmanship behind each dish, enhancing the overall dining experience.
The Udon Experience:
At the heart of Koya Soho’s menu lies the star of the show – udon noodles. Handmade daily with precision and care, these thick wheat noodles are a testament to Koya’s dedication to authenticity. The menu offers a variety of udon dishes, each highlighting the versatility of this beloved Japanese staple.
Their menu is available for your perusal [here].
- Nabeyaki Udon: A comforting bowl of udon served in a hot pot, featuring a rich broth, chicken, tempura, and a perfectly poached egg.
- Kake Udon: The simplicity of this dish allows the quality of the udon noodles to shine, served in a delicate soy-based broth with toppings like green onions and tempura flakes.
- Hiya-Atsu Udon: A refreshing cold udon dish, ideal for warmer days, served with a dipping sauce and an array of toppings.
One of Koya Soho’s standout features is its commitment to seasonal ingredients. The menu evolves to embrace the best produce each season has to offer, ensuring a fresh and diverse dining experience throughout the year. From delicate spring greens to hearty winter root vegetables, Koya Soho’s chefs skillfully adapt their offerings to suit the changing seasons.
Vegetarian and Vegan Options:
In keeping with the growing demand for plant-based dining, Koya Soho goes beyond traditional udon offerings with a selection of thoughtfully crafted vegetarian and vegan dishes. The Vegetable Tempura Udon, featuring a medley of crispy tempura vegetables, is a particular delight that showcases the kitchen’s creativity.
Craftsmanship in the Kitchen:
Koya Soho’s commitment to authenticity extends to its kitchen, where skilled chefs showcase the art of udon-making. The meticulous process involves kneading, rolling, and cutting the dough to produce the perfect texture and thickness for each udon strand. This dedication to craftsmanship ensures that every bowl served at Koya Soho embodies the essence of Japanese culinary traditions.
A Culinary Collaboration:
To further elevate the dining experience, Koya Soho collaborates with local producers and suppliers, establishing a network of relationships that enhance the quality and sustainability of their offerings. From sourcing the finest flour for udon noodles to selecting fresh, seasonal produce, Koya Soho’s commitment to supporting local businesses is reflected in every dish.
The Community Spirit:
Beyond its culinary prowess, Koya Soho contributes to the sense of community in the heart of London. The restaurant’s communal seating encourages a shared dining experience, fostering a sense of camaraderie among diners. The staff, passionate about Japanese cuisine, adds a warm and welcoming touch to the overall atmosphere.
The Ritual of Dining:
Dining at Koya Soho is not just a meal; it’s a ritual. The experience is designed to be unhurried, allowing diners to savour the flavours and appreciate the craftsmanship behind each dish. The attentive staff provides guidance on the menu, ensuring that every visitor feels at home and well informed about the culinary journey they are about to embark on.
The Koya Bar:
For those seeking a more casual experience, the Koya Bar offers a relaxed setting where guests can enjoy a quick bite or a leisurely drink. The bar menu features a selection of small plates, perfect for sampling a variety of Japanese-inspired flavours.
Respecting Tradition, Embracing Innovation:
While Koya Soho pays homage to the traditions of Japanese udon, it also embraces innovation in its culinary approach. The chefs at Koya Soho infuse creativity into their dishes, offering a balance between time-honoured recipes and contemporary tastes. This fusion of tradition and innovation is a testament to the restaurant’s dynamic approach to Japanese cuisine.
Reservations and Accessibility:
To ensure you secure a spot at this sought-after eatery, reservations are recommended, especially during peak hours. Koya Soho’s central location makes it easily accessible by public transport, adding to its appeal for both locals and visitors exploring London’s culinary scene.
In the heart of Soho, Koya Soho stands as a testament to the rich tapestry of London’s culinary landscape. Through its dedication to authentic Japanese udon and a commitment to seasonal, high-quality ingredients, Koya Soho offers a dining experience that transcends the ordinary. Whether you’re a udon enthusiast or a curious culinary explorer, Koya Soho invites you to indulge in a gastronomic journey that celebrates the artistry of Japanese cuisine.
As you step out into the vibrant streets of Soho after your Koya Soho experience, you carry with you the memories of a culinary adventure that combines tradition, innovation, and the warm embrace of a community united by a love for exceptional food.