One of the things I love about London is how the most unassuming restaurants are always the most special. Soho is full of these amazing spots and are so appealing they always seem to fill out even on London’s ghostly Sunday evenings.
After a busy week the last thing as a chef you want to do is go home and cook yourself a dinner and as we don’t do a service on a Sunday evening it’s always the perfect time for a few after work drinks and food.
We initially tried Barrafina and were told we would have to wait an hour and 45 minutes for a table. This is a spot I would be willing to wait even longer for but as we all had work again tomorrow morning and were starved we decided it was best to venture on! Next door to Barafinna is the amazing Koya. I’ve heard so much about this place and have been keen to try it for a while and it definitely did not disappoint. Koya is a cafe style Japanese restaurant with communal seating around the bar/kitchen. We were told we would have to wait 15 minutes for a table which we were quite happy to do as it was a refreshing warmth from the wind outside. Our wait time was much shorter thankfully as the amazing smells were making me so hungry.
The menu offers hot and cold udon soup dishes, some rice dishes and small sharing plates. They also have a ever changing specials menu which really is special. Tonight they had things like tempura of Alexander flower and whole tempura of Irish pollan. It really is simple and non fussy but so authentic. Prices are also really reasonable considering the stiff competition around on Frith and Dean street and China town only a few meters away.
These simple places are so inspiring and I always love a restaurant that just works for no particular reason other than it being so obviously someones passion and creativity relayed through their food. Definitely one to try.
Ps. This was really hard to type as I have a huge blister taking control of my finger from a burn in work so please excuse any typos 😉