Two minutes with John Devitt, Co-founder of Koya
You opened the first Koya on Frith Street back in 2010. What did the London restaurant scene look like back then?
Soho was just about to arrive. Barrafina opened just before us. Soho was not seen as a destination for food in 2010. Property was easy enough to come by, unlike the scramble it became. It’s still difficult to get property on the right spots in Soho today.
To this day, eager punters continue to queue outside Koya Soho for bowls of noodles. What do you think is behind Koya’s enduring popularity?
My mantra is to under offer and over perform. We are still adhering to this. We have a quiet authenticity and keep producing food at a very high level, for not a huge amount. We are a very affordable dining spot and I hope customers leave having had a quiet moment, transported from everyday life.
If you could open a Koya in any city outside London, where would it be?
NYC - we’re coming to get ya.