4 January 2014

London | Koya Bar

December 2013 was probably the craziest month in 2013, having to adjust from one time zone to another, and battling jet lags. I packed my bags and went on a huge trip back to back - London/New York. So I had to adjust from SG time zone by 8 hours to London and then 5 hours to New York, and then back again, until my brain was confused which time zone was in. But it was also one of the most memorable experiences - purely relaxing and of course indulging in food that is worthy of my tummy.

I am a trusting person and hence I had pretty much free-ride trusted my food itinerary to people who have been there done that. My friend who lived in London has claimed Koya had the best udon in town. Now this friend has the pickiest taste buds and probably also the meanest critic. Hence if Koya got our king's stamp of approval, we peasants should be on the safe side.

Ok actually we were supposed to go to Lobster & Burger nearby that day, also recommended by the same friend. Alas the waitress was not willing to let us peasants in before letting us wait for one and half hours. We had to abandon our wait which was getting unbearable in the "5 Celsius degrees but felt like 0 degree" environment. Thank god Koya bar was in the same Soho neighborhood, just a few streets away. (And luckily I still got to try Lobster & Burger on the following day). Soho to London is like Boat Quay to Singapore. Littered with pubs, there were also the Japanese shops that offer something different.

The bar was full at 10 plus. A cute young lady server who looked like a mix of Japanese-Caucasian greeted us and informed that the wait is about 20 min. It must been the most unbearable wait because 1) it was 10 plus 2) Seeing the rest of customers slurping their udon .. Hot and soupy udon - the only thing we needed in the cold winter. Still, we were quite happy that we were given permission to thaw ourselves in the noodle shop.

When we got our seats, we just went straight and ordered the Tempura Udon. Still, we have to wait for like 15 minutes before a bowl of hot-piping noodles would appear, like an oasis would. If patience is a virtue, then battling a World War II in the stomach on a cold winter is an honor that deserves a badge.

Finally, the chef has decided not to continue torturing us and gave us our hot broth with slurping udon, and crispy tempura (£11.60).

The udon noodles were al dente, firm and slippery, escaping the grasp of the chopsticks. This is evidential of the fact that the noodles were made in the traditional manner. Traditional udon is made by kneading the dough by foot because the udon dough is too hard to knead with hands. Kneading with hand might result in inconsistent texture. And the scalding-hot soup broth was umami-rich, a very important element for a satisfying udon. The tempura was crispy and fresh. But we had to eat our tempura quickly before it gets disintegrated in our soup. The whole combination of the udon, soup and tempura was clean cut, simple but satisfying. Just how a bowl of udon should be.

Overall, a very memorable udon. I was trying hard to find a flaw for this one. But I couldn't.

We lingered a while to immerse ourselves in the simple ulitarian yet down-to-earth bar with a taste of Japanese. I wished we could stay longer to try their other dishes but they were closing for the day. I walked out as one of the last customers. A happy customer I was. On the train ride back, I couldn't stop thinking when I will get to go back to Koya.

Address: 50 Frith Street, W1, London, UK

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...