The Modern Pantry
47—48 St John’s Square, EC1V 4JJ
While the rest of Soho seems to be having a ramen showdown (see Bone Daddies, Tonkotsu and Shoryu), Koya remain unchallenged for their udon throne. Since opening in 2010, they’ve topped numerous cheap eat rankings and consistently had people queuing down Frith Street for a delicious bowl of noodle soup.
Having taken over the unit next door, to open Koya Bar – a similar sized space but with a bar set up, putting you right in front of the chefs — they’ve managed to dramatically reduce the queues, which can only be good news.
The udon (£6.90–£14.90) is the star of the menu and comes with numerous topping options and varieties (hot udon with hot broth, cold udon with hot broth, cold udon… you get the picture), it’s the ultimate comfort food for wet London evenings. The small plates (£2.30–£8.90) are great too; particularly their take on ‘fish and chips’ (cod tempura and lotus root chips) and if Koya chef Junya Yamasaki’s tweets are anything to go by you’ll want to keep an eye on the specials board.
And the added bonus of the introduction of Koya Bar, it’s open for breakfast! So if you’re feeling adventurous head down before noon and grab some Udon with fried egg and bacon, Kedgeree (porridge with smoked haddock, poached egg and curry) or the English Breakfast rice porridge (or congee) and if you’re feeling super adventurous grab some Natto (fermented soybeans) on the side.
Words: Rob Driscoll