After a negroni or three with a friend at Bar Termini on Old Compton Street, Koya Bar and its array of udon noodle bowls called out to us. Two doors down from the two hour queues at Hoppers, and hidden behind scaffolding, Koya Bar is still busy and buzzing on a Monday night, but the wait for a table is minimal. The layout is simple – one long counter with a couple of corner spots, ideal for couples or solo diners; and the service is efficient but very friendly across the board, with no attempts made to hurry you out the door after your last slurp of soup. Miraculously, despite the small space and turnover, it’s a very calming place, perfect for escaping the occasionally stressful streets of Soho.
I’m here for the udon noodles of course – niku (beef) in this case – which are just what the doctor ordered, but the specials board (partly filling a hole left by big brother Koya) is also full of surprises. After some deliberation, a plate of diced kabocha (winter squash) with black sesame proves to be a wise choice, washed down with a bottle of Work pale ale from new brewers on the block, Forest Road, and a can of Quello sparkling wine for my companion. An hour or so later, we pay the bill and make our way home, satisfied and revived by one of Soho’s finest establishments. Simple, effective and affordable.
Koya Bar – koyabar.co.uk