We have had drinks in Aqua, a bar/restaurant located on the fifth floor of a building in Argyll Street in Oxford Circus, a number of times before. Take the lift to the sixteenth floor and you will be welcomed by a reception desk in the lobby that has luxury red curtains. As you walk into Aqua you are confronted with a large circular bar where drinkers can socialise around. There are also a limited number of cosy seats and bar stools, which are quickly filled at busy times and there is a table serve. Please note that the drinks take a long while to be made and getting your order through can be a little arduous at times. The cocktail list is extensive, exotic and finely decorated but the drinks are fairly pricey. On nice days/evenings you can walk through the restaurant to the terrace, which overlooks Regent Street and Carnaby Street however views are limited to the tops of buildings. Despite this the architecture of the buildings in this area are stunning and therefore, it makes you much more appreciative of your surroundings. I was with a friend from oversees who kept asking what the buildings below us were as they were so impressive, I could only respond that they were just shops and regular buildings – it made me how much us Londoners take the architecture for granted.
Anyway to the restaurant – Aqua Kyoto is an Asian fusion restaurant with sister restaurants in Hong Kong and in Dubai. In the next few months a new one will open at the Shard – watch this space. The restaurant is made up of tables surrounding the large chef’s station, which is where Japanese chefs prepare fresh sushi with extreme skill. This perfect square of a station is strikingly large and is surrounded by tables. We were actually seated on the chefs station so had a perfect view of the sushi making in action.
The restaurant is large and has red curtains to separate it from the bar area. The golden furnishings add light and glamour to the already exotic setting. It took a while to be noticed and given our menus. However when we were notice the service carried on smoothly after this. We ordered the crab and rocket salad with a spicy vinaigrette dressing and the marinated tuna with a wasabi and garlic oil dressing. We also ordered a sushi platter to go with this. The two light salads came out first and then were followed by the sushi. This was cleverly played by the service that realised that to really appreciate the dishes we would need a separation before we received the sushi. The crab salad was light with pieces of crab meat folded through this; the dressing was needed to combine the peppery dryness of the rocket with the creamy meat. The tuna was thinly sliced and covered the plate roughly, in an almost Spanish tapas style. The dressing was enough to be tasted in every bite but not enough to overpower the tuna.
We were then served a mixture of sushi that we had already selected including, yellow fin tuna, salmon, sea bream and spider crab. This came out with a sesame dressing and served on a long platter. I can honestly say that the sushi is the best I have tasted in London as the quality, presentation and taste was just spot on. This was all helped by the fact you could see the chefs in their submerged station creating these mini works of art and all that separated you was a pane of glass.
For main course we ordered the wagyu beef with garlic and grape icicles (no idea what the icicles referred to) and the black cod. The beefs were marinated in an intense garlic and soy reduction and was melt in the mouth. The black cod was served in the typical banana leaf and rice. The black cod was thick and meaty, sticking deliciously to the leaf tempting you to peal the blacked skin off. Both dishes exude’s the very best in Japanese/Asian cooking and I dare anyone who is not a fan of Asian cuisine not to like this place.
We finished up completely satisfied and sated, the service. Despite its touristy location the clientele are fare from this. Aqua Kyoto is well thought out right from the food quality right down to the ambiance. As a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:
Food Atmosphere Service