Chef Shuko Oda and restaurateur John Devitt will open a third outpost of the outstanding and essential udon noodle specialist Koya in Hackney this autumn. It will arrive in a mews location, just off the ultra trendy Broadway Market in the first two weeks of September.
Koya Ko — as the site will be known — is the third in the small group, a follow-up on the original Koya Bar in Soho and Koya City inside the Bloomberg Arcade in the City of London. Some will recognise the name from Koya’s relatively short-lived stint at the food hall Market Halls in Victoria: “Ko” means little, or, specifically in Koya’s case, “little sister” and was the name used for that project until it closed in July 2019.
The new restaurant will be the brand’s first in the hip east end of the city, having found a home just off the main drag of one of Hackney’s busiest spots. The site has been “inspired by the fast-paced dining of the train station noodle bars found in Japan” and it fulfils a promise made by Devitt 12 months ago to open a restaurant that would recognise a new propensity of Londoners sticking in their neighbourhoods as well as travelling into town (for dinner.)
The owners have promised the new restaurant will offer a “fun, revamped take on Koya’s favourite udon and donburi dishes,” which have been created exclusively for the new restaurant. Plus Oda has said there will be “a few more surprises.” Regulars at the Soho and City restaurants will hope to see more of Oda’s famous — often ingenious — “blackboard special” small plate salads and meat and fish dishes.
As well as offering standing dining — what in Japan is called tachi-gui — it will be a project that is wise to the changes in London dining brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a focus on both eating outside and takeaway customers. While details are scarce right now, Devitt has said the new restaurant will feature a “sophisticated takeaway system.” The standing counter will offer space for eight guests, with 15 covers for seated indoor dining and a further 25 covers outdoor; all dishes are available to take away.
Koya started two doors down from the Soho site that still operates on Frith Street (what is now Hoppers) in 2010, when Devitt opened the restaurant with chef Junya Yamasaki — now of Yess Aquatic in Los Angeles Arts District. As a restaurant and a concept, it is largely based on the Parisian restaurant Kunitoroya, and for a decade has dominated the udon noodle scene in London, combining Japanese techniques with produce predominantly sourced from U.K. suppliers, such as Namayasai in Sussex.
Koya Ko will open at 12 Broadway Market Mews (between Arabica [%] and La Bouche on Broadway Market), on the former site of Twigs. Check back for a first look at the site and the menu then.