For an early birthday present to myself this year, I caved and indulged myself with a copy of Where Chefs Eat. This book is a holy grail for delicious eating in almost every major city on every continent. This year, I knew I wanted to have Japanese for my birthday, but in Britain, Japanese food can be very hit or miss (erring on the side of miss). I had faith, however, that Where Chefs Eat would lead me in the right direction, and that direction happened to be Koya Bar.
So first things first, my boyfriend and I actually initially planned on eating at Koya, the sister restaurant of Koya Bar, located slightly further down the street. That being said, we stumbled across Koya Bar first, and being starving, settled in.
Walking into Koya Bar can be pretty intimidating. There are no reservations, there’s no waiting staff to greet you, no background music to set the mood, no kitschy decor; just a line of people sitting at the counter tucking into their food. And it is great. There’s something to be said for a restaurant that totally concentrates on making great food and feeding as many hungry people as efficiently as possible. Or maybe that’s just the economist in me.
Once we hung up our coats and sat down, we ordered our noodles. My boyfriend ordered the Niku Atsu-Atsu (hot noodles in a hot, ginger-y broth with beef), and I asked for the Kamo Hiya-Atsu (cold noodles on the side of a hot miso broth with duck). Along with our meals we ordered 200ml of hot sake to celebrate my 25 years of existing. Both our meals were unspeakably tasty, and my only regret was not having more room in my stomach (courtesy of birthday cake) to order more. Eating the udon at Koya Bar gave me more joy on my birthday than any other present ever could have.
After we left Koya Bar and while I captured some snapshots of the exterior, we were shouted at by a homeless man who threw tomatoes at me. But, it’s London, so no big surprises there.
Oh, and don’t forget to check out our store for prints from our travels and more!