Koya (Japanese Udon noodles) 11MAY11
Ok, so I would like to write about my favourite Japanese restaurant in London for my very first blog.
KOYA in Soho is the best place to experience Japan without eating only bread and butter for a week to go there. It is affordable and tastefully Japanese; with a twist.
It opened only a year ago. When I first found out about this Udon (Japanese thick noodles) restaurant opening, I was so excited; for Udon is something that’s so different from Chinese noodles or pasta. And it also needs to be prepared with so much care in order for it to taste good.
There are three main ways of eating Udon there. “Atsu Atsu” “Hiya Atsu” Hiya Hiya”
“Atsu Atsu” is hot noodles in hot broth. Yes it’s “Hot Hot”
“Hiya Hiya” is cold noodles in cold dipping broth. Yes it’s “Cold Cold”
So what’s “Hiya Atsu”? Yes, cold noodles with hot dipping broth. And this definitely is my recommendation.
Udon noodle’s texture changes dramatically when it’s washed with cold water after it’s been cooked. The temperature change increases its soft resistance to your teeth when you bite into it (we call it “Mochi Mochi”). Ask a scientist why it happens if you’re interested; for me what’s important is that it tastes GOOD. Try eating the noodles on it’s own. You will find the fine “Mochi Mochi” texture and also be surprised by how tasty flour can be.
I recommend “Hiya Atsu” as supposed to “Hiya Hiya” because hot broth has more interesting varieties. Try anything on the menu and I can assure you that you will find every dish is prepared with the Japanese delicacy and care. For example, the onions in Beef broth has been dipped in water before cooked. This gets rid of the sharp strong taste onions have and leave only the sweetness.
Make sure you have a look at the specials on the blackboard as well. They have many interesting dishes there such as venison (yes Japanese eat venison sometimes).
The only problem with Koya is that it is so so busy. You often see a long queue (both English and Japanese love queuing, so it can’t be helped…!). So you need to be cunning about what time you go there. You can sometimes sit straight away but I am not going to tell you the trick because I want to keep it that way for myself.