No-frills Japanese café specialising in hand-pulled udon noodles; there are no bookings and there's always a queue, so get there early.
NOTE: Koya is scheduled to close on May 31. The next-door Koya bar will remain open after this original branch ceases trading. To go to their listing, click here.
The Time Out Eating and Drinking Editors
The opening of Koya in 2010 marked a more youthful movement in the Japanese dining scene. With blond-wood sharing tables, white walls and a generally fresh-faced crowd of diners, the venue feels more like a friendly caff than a slick West End eaterie. The handmade udon noodles produced here are top notch, which explains why expectant diners often queue out of the door. Don’t be deterred: service is generally snappy, so you won’t have to wait too long. The well-priced menu features udon noodles served three ways: atsu-atsu (hot noodles in hot dashi broth), hiya-atsu (cold noodles with hot dipping broth) or hiya-hiya (cold noodles with cold dipping sauce). All are good, so choosing according to the weather tends to be the best method. Accompaniments range from traditional Japanese (tempura, perhaps) to the less conventional (smoked mackerel with greens). The vegetarian sweet miso, walnut and mushroom atsu-atsu is a regular crowd-pleaser. There are also donburi dishes and a specials board that includes the likes of okara (the ground bean protein left over from making soya milk) or cime di rapa croquettes slathered in earthy ginger and shiitake mushroom sauce. A small drinks list encompasses Japanese beer, saké and shochu.