Chef's Table: Junya Yamasaki

During chef Junya Yamasaki’s reign at Koya, the restaurant won a series of gongs including Observer Food Monthly’s Best Cheap Eats in 2011. The closing of the much-loved Japanese udon noodle bar has been mourned by chefs and foodies alike. Herewith, Junya’s top tips for breakfast at home and abroad:


You’re going out for a weekend breakfast. Where do you go? What's great about it and what do you regularly order? 

Leila’s Shop on Calvert Avenue in Shoreditch. They often have really simple dishes like breakfast radishes and butter or vegetable crudités with anchovy tapenade.

What is your everyday breakfast?

I don't have much when I work in the kitchen, but I tend to eat yoghurt and fruit before I leave for work. Otherwise, I loved ordering the rice ball breakfast from KoyaBar next door!

Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day?

It should be, but a chef’s lifestyle seldom allows for it.  

Tell us about your best breakfast abroad, or the country that does breakfast the best.

Japan and Israel. I love savoury breakfast; traditional Japanese breakfast, and Israeli breakfast with lots of vegetables and fresh cheese.

Where is the best place to eat breakfast in London that we won't have heard of? What’s great about it and what do you regularly order?

KoyaBar. It’s the only place where you can have Japanese breakfast, from the traditional to Anglo-Japanese, like English Breakfast Udon!