Another Monday and life’s feeling a little dismal. Beginning of the week blues…the usual. However, brainwave strikes at about four o’clock, the general time my mind seems to wonder onto such pressing issues as ‘who’s uploaded pictures onto Facebook’ and ‘better check Mailonline to see in Chantelle Houton really HAS left Alex Reid’. So, around this time as my mind was dodging between Kim Kardashian and last night’s freshers party at Leeds, I decided it was time to check out Koya on Frith Street.
Koya has been on my radar since my first week in London when I asked my boss for some restaurant recommendations in the centre of town. I was promptly emailed a list of restaurants including Koya, with a note along the lines of: best noodles. What else could one need on a dismal Monday? Two messages to my flatmate later and it was all arranged.
Now, Lindsay (my flatmate) and I, like to think of ourselves as asia-phones. In fact, we recently went as far as to say that we think we were probably asian in another life- however in this life we’re both Scottish. Karma? So we were delighted to turn up at Koya to find a tiny restaurant filled with Japanese families and some well-advised westerners noisily sucking on thick, hot udon broth. Sandwiched next to a Japanese woman who honestly looked about a hundred, we asked the waitress to bring us the best bits from the menu- mainly because neither of us had had proper udon broth before and didn’t know the ordering etiquette. Whilst enjoying a wonderful plum wine over ice we were brought crisp, fresh vegetable tempura with a bowl of miso. After getting over my mild disappointment that I didn’t have soy or sweet chilli to dip into, I realised that the miso was really rather good. Pret A Manger hang your head in shame, this was the real deal.
Having worked through the batter fried vegetables (you can take the girl out of Scotland…) we moved on to welcome bowls of udon noodles. I chose the Buto Miso Atsu-Atsu on the waitress’s recommendation, a hot noodle broth topped with pork and miso and Lindsay had Tori noodles, a fresh lemongrass scented broth with chicken. Again with the wonderful miso mine was sweet and savoury with pieces of delicious shredded pork dotted throughout.
Koya is a brilliant restaurant, and as the note said, it really does make the best noodles. It’s also not pricy, so a perfect place to go with a friend to hide from the imposing winter weather.
So, following our meal we were Inspired and feeling more asian than ever.
We went down to Chinatown.
One bamboo steamer, two china spoons and a packet of ‘white rabbit’ sweets later, weekend dinner plans were well under-way.
When the weekend finally drew-in we tried our hand at dumpling making. Using our old uni housemate’s recipe, we constructed Japanese pork dumplings with a fragrant stir fry to follow. Gok Wan’s cookery book was present, but I’m happy to report, ignored. It all tasted pretty darn good and there were even leftovers for lunch the next day. Win.