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The playfully named Ko Meaty! — a slow-braised beef shin broth with chilli oil cossets the udon, which are being “noodle-pulled” out of the bowl, in a new dish for this restaurant only.
The playfully named Ko Meaty! — a slow-braised beef shin broth with chilli oil cossets the udon, in a new dish for this restaurant only.

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Look Inside Koya Ko, Which Brings London’s Best Udon to Broadway Market

Shuko Oda and John Devitt’s neighbourhood iteration of their peerless noodle bar blends quick service with bowls of serenity

Koya, London’s peerless udon noodle bar, feels like a neighbourhood restaurant. It’s in the middle of Soho, one of the city’s fastest-moving areas, but it never bustles. It’s diminutive and often full, but it never rushes. It is precisely its unerring serenity, allied with quality, inventive cooking, that makes it one of London’s essential restaurants. So it’s perhaps a little surprising that for their fully fledged neighbourhood debut, on East London’s Broadway Market, co-founders Shuko Oda and John Devitt actually want to speed things up.

Koya Ko, the literal and translated “little sister” to Koya Soho and its City restaurant, where lunchtime speed is the MO, will open on 13 September. Inspired by Japanese train station dining, it will feature a tachi-gui standing counter, with significant concessions to pandemic-era dining that Devitt said made the group “as resilient and flexible as possible” in an interview just over a year ago. A new pre-ordering system will, they hope, embed takeaway into a restaurant that will build its regular cadence by not taking reservations, while imposing menu boards will both eliminate paper menus and provide a fond memory for acolytes of the Soho original. As before, so now.

A similar philosophy runs through the menu, which iterates upon classic Koya dishes rather than running roughshod. The English breakfast udon, which encapsulates Oda’s cooking philosophy better than any words, has been tweaked into the kamatama style, in which the heat of the noodles “cooks” a raw egg yolk into sauce. Yes, the bacon is there. No, it is not a Japanese carbonara.

But some things are new, guided by the area’s local population. A kids’ menu — complete with nifty smaller chopsticks — is in play; breakfast will kick in from 8:30 a.m., an hour-and-a-half before it begins on Frith Street; there will be plenty of tables outside. And there’s a new playfulness to some of the menu, including the Ko Meaty!, a beef shin and chilli oil bowl, whose exclamation mark will hopefully presage its kick. Take a scroll through the new menu below, and then take a look inside the restaurant at 12 Broadway Market Mews.


The outside of Koya Ko Broadway Market, with the name written in thick, white font in both English and Japanese on a denim-blue signage.
The exterior, complete with the denim-blue signage familiar to diners in Soho and the City.
In the foreground, a denim-blue counter, stacked with chopsticks, udon bowls, and cups. In the background, and open kitchen, with two chefs, whose backs are to the camera.
Upon entry, diners are greeted with both an open kitchen, and a choice...
A restaurant table with a stool on one side and a wood-panelled seat on the other, the seat topped with a denim-blue cushion.
Will they take their udon sitting?
Two bowls of udon noodles on a wooden counter, secured to a white wall with a black metal bracket. Steam rises from the bowl to the right
Or standing?
A bowl of udon noodles with raw egg, bacon, spring onion, and mushroom, with a cup of dashijoyu on the side
Koya’s iconic English breakfast udon will now be served in the kamatama style, in which the heat of the noodles “cooks” a raw egg yolk, here cosseted by bacon, spring onion, and mushrooms. Don’t call it a Japanese carbonara, please.
A bowl of udon noodles with beef shin and chilli oil, sitting on a light wood table
There’s a new playfulness to the menu at Koya Ko: Here is Meaty!, a beef shin and chilli oil bowl of noodles, which simply must...
The playfully named Ko Meaty! — a slow-braised beef shin broth with chilli oil cossets the udon, which are being “noodle-pulled” out of the bowl, in a new dish for this restaurant only.
... Be pulled.
Acid fiends will find their kin in this triple-pickle udon, which features pickled wakame; pickled chilli; and umeboshi, served in a white bowl on a light wood table
Acid fiends will find their kin in this triple-pickle udon, which features pickled wakame; pickled chilli; and umeboshi.
A kid’s bowl of udon, with radish leaves poking out of a side dish of vegetables and playful drawings of chopsticks on the sheet of paper below the bowl.
And the kids’ tray is alright too.
Two bowls of udon on a wooden counter / windowsill at Koya Ko on Broadway Market.
Time to stand and slurp.

Broadway Market

Broadway Market, , England E8 4QJ

Koya Soho

50 Frith Street, , England W1D 4SQ 020 7434 4463 Visit Website

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