ISSUE 5  |  Small Space Living

A Tiny Japanese Udon Bar, Brit Style

February 06, 2014 8:00 PM

BY Alexa Hotz

Koya, a Japanese noodle bar just off of Old Compton Street in London’s Soho has us convinced that their isn’t much more to life than quality udon, Ercol chairs, and chalkboards.

The restaurant is split into two: the original location–already quite compact–and an adjacent even smaller spot called Koya Bar. When the first section of the restaurant opened in 2010, local designer Michael Marriot dreamed up a series of furniture and wall menus in the new London palette of steel, light wood, and black chalkboards (see Leila’s greengrocer in Bethnal Green for another example of the aesthetic). Here, a look at Marriot’s custom designs and Koya’s clinical-in-a-good way vibe.

Above: Koya, meaning “small house” in Japanese, is an Irish-owned Japanese noodle restaurant at 50 Frith Street in Soho.

Above: Designer Michael Marriot lined the walls with menus that alternate between oak and blackboard surfaces. The tables are surrounded by Ercol Stacking Chairs

Above: Along the lower edge of the menu rails, stainless steel hooks are for hanging coats and bags in the small restaurant.

Above: Some oak boards are covered in Black Chalkboard Paint for changing menu items.

Above: Soy sauce decanters and bowls, chopsticks crocks and other tableware are made of ceramics with a rich brown Rockingham glaze, just like the classic Brown Betty teapot.

Location of Koya in London:

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See our London City Guide for more of our favorite stops, including stationery shop Present & Correct, buckwheat crepe stop La Petite Bretagne, and the months old Ace hotel in Shoreditch.