Joining the Koya family, which already counts Koya City and Koya Soho among its members, is little sister restaurant Koya Ko Hackney. But don’t be tricked by the size of the venue, or it’s ‘little sister’ status. Koya Ko Hackney is one of the most satisfying places to devour udon in London. Billed as a more casual and fast-paced alternative to the other Koya locations, Koya Ko has a whole new menu. They also tackle ordering and dining just a little differently with a fast food-esque system that belies the incredible food.
The food at Koya Ko Hackney
When you arrive, check out the menu (outside or inside), and head straight to the counter to order. Between 10 and 11.45 they serve up delightful breakfast options. But if you’re there after 12, make sure to order the Ko Set, which adds two sides to your udon or donburi bowl. And one of those sides has to be the chicken or tofu karaage, which lock in tons of flavour thanks to a pre-dredge marinade. You’ll be tempted to immediately order another serving. Do it. It’s worth it.
Regardless of whether you get an udon bowl or a donburi, it’s hard to go wrong at Koya Ko. The dashi that serves as the base for a lot of the meals is fragrant with a light funk. The freshly made udon noodles are equal parts chewy and slurpable. And everything else on the menu, from the toppings to the sides to the curry and the rotating specials, is bang-on delicious. Many of the udon dishes also come cold – perfect for a refreshing slurp to combat the hot days. And if you’ve never tried cold noodle dishes on a stiflingly hot day, you’re truly missing out.
On your way out do not miss out on the ice cream sandwiches from Happy Endings. They’re indulgent, rich, and blow-your-socks off delicious. The Naughty One squashes Miso salt caramel parfait in between gorgeous slices of soft-chewy chocolate Guinness cake. It’s truly naughty, truly delicious, and a truly rewarding way to finish out the meal.
Koya Ko is walk-in only, but service and turn-around are quick, and there are plenty of places nearby to grab a perch with some takeaway udon. It’s a must-try restaurant.