Koya - Soho
Koya is a surefire shout for hearty bowls of udon and sashimi complete with edible flowers. There's something so satisfying and oddly comforting about Japanese udon noodles. They're thick, chewy and fill your mouth with slurping sounds. Add the savoury broth and a couple of toppings and you're in for a treat. Choose between the broths, then add a couple of small plates like pickled plum or seaweed salad. Hearty portions and low prices make for very happy customers here.
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Ichiryu's decor offers a seriously slick and modern alternative to a lot of the Japanese joints in London. Their thick chewy udon noodles are freshly made on site and served in a umami-rich stock, made with konbu kelp and bonito. This comforting and healthy Hakata-style udon is brought to you in steaming hot bowls straight from Japan. Being walk-in only and positioned just off Tottenham Court Road, Ichiryu is ideal for an impromptu meal anytime.
Pho & Bun
After smashing it for two years in Holborn, Viet Eat open the doors to their sister joint in Soho, but this time bringing something a little different to the table... Pho & Bun will be serving traditional Pho Noodle Soup and Steamed Milky Bun Burgers plus a couple of other delights such as summer rolls with tiger prawns. We're eye balling the Vietnamese beef carpaccio served with Viet Eat’s signature smoky mayonnaise sauce and a mixture of herbs and fresh salad, all packed together in a hirata bun.
On a cold night nothing beats squeezing into Kanada-Ya’s steamy little ramen restaurant. The guys behind this place started life in Yukuhashi Japan and only serve ramen - so they must have got something right. Decor is slick and modern, service is speedy and flavours are on point. Their hearty bowls of goodness have all the rich creamy broth they should, plus tender noodles and an assortment of toppings including hanjuku egg, seaweed and rice balls. Nothing like a revitalising ramen sauna to see you right.
Tombo - Soho
Healthy lifestyle is central to this Japanese cafe and matcha bar run by mother and son team Manami and Louis. After realising good quality Japanese food was always mega spenny in London, they decided to bring us a little taste of the action, with premium products at more reasonable price points. Get involved with colourful and wholesome bento boxes, sushi bowls, rice bowls and comforting curry bowls - we had a katsu number that really took the edge off. And then there's the green stuff, the whole reason you're here: matcha. Made with premium leaves, grown in the shade, hand-picked and ground whole - there's all sorts of health benefits stuffed into this one, along with a subtle sweet taste. Whether you go for a matcha shot (the most traditional serving), a tea or latte, you're sure to get that caffeine kick without any of the jitters of coffee. This lot have won awards for specialising in the above, so you're truly in very safe hands. It's also mixed into tarts, cakes, shakes and brownies, as well as a perfectly balanced soft serve. Sweet and bitter in all the right places, we couldn't get enough.