Koya’s udon noodles have had a cult following ever since its first Soho restaurant opened in 2010. The original has since closed, but its next-door spin, Koya Bar, remains, and now there’s this branch in the City. Decidedly more corporate than the others, thanks to its position within Bloomberg Arcade, this one has Tokyo-style light wooden walls, a smattering of small tables and a massive two-page udon menu with every combination of hot or cold soup and noodles.
Unsurprisingly, the udon was incredible. A bowl of kinoko (‘speciality mushrooms’) had a light, almost opaque hot broth that was deep with flavour, topped with a handful of wild mushrooms that had a nutty hit thanks to some walnut miso. Second best was a bright orange bowl of warm and spicy curry soup that came loaded with aromatic spring onions – a true winter warmer with just the right amount of heat. Noodles were obviously perfect, and spectacularly silky.
Most of the small plates were disappointing, though – bland, soggy tempura vegetables, some unpleasantly fatty cider-braised pork belly – and the service wasn’t particularly friendly, but if all you want is a quick bowl of exceptionally good noodles, Koya is a very worthy destination. As always, udon saved the day.