Review of 'Aqua Kyoto'

A trendy restaurant perched on the top floor above Regent Street though entered on 30 Argyll Street, around the corner (opposite the London Palladium). We visited on a Saturday night for their set menu special (three courses for £29) - Which is quite a bargain if you look at their a la carte menu. The trendy interior is quite dark with pools of light centred on each table. On leaving the lift you pass through their bar which seems to be quite an attraction with a number of interesting cocktails on offer to the seating area towards the back (nearest to Regent Street). Beyond this area there is a terrace where you can smoke or have a drink (though you would have to stand up to be able to see the buildings below and around you) - But the night we visited was a bit cool for that. We were surprised that it was not busier even when we left close to 9 pm the restaurant was less than half full and the bar even less so.

The menu is full of interesting ingredients and the dishes are certainly beautiful to look at.

Our welcome drinks were a “signature cocktail” - A fresh fruit juice concoction that, regretfully, was mostly ice. I cannot say it really wowed me other than to notice it had a bit of guava juice in it (a personal favourite of mine).

I started with a sampler of sashmi (raw fish slices) presented on bed of ice in a large bowl with a mat of small twigs sticking up behind it - Perhaps obscuring the fact that the dish was tiny - Only five small pieces of fish (two salmon, one tuna and another fish I cannot recall). It was, however, very tasty and the ice meant it was the perfect temperature (for me). The accompanying soy sauce was nice and light (not over salty) and the wasabi (green hot paste) was really good - An initial heat that quickly fades. My companion had the “tatki” which was a set of four pieces of sushi in a mustard sauce that was pretty to look at but also quite tasty.

For our mains we both went with the lamb dish which was a generous portion of small pieces of lamb served in a shallow dish with a thick, rich, sauce with edamame beans and a few squares of green edamame tofu (a new one on us). On the side we had the obligatory bowl of rice and also a bowl of a miso-custard concoction that I found amazing (though my companion was not so keen) - The strong flavour of miso but not the bite you often get with lesser quality - Delicious though the odd texture of the custard consistency may put some off.

Our desert was a small layered slice of chocolate and miso cake, a sesame ice cream served on top of a bed of white chocolate with both on top of a thin swipe of black sesame. Very nice and quite refreshing.

The service throughout our mean was quite friendly with my having a chat with one of the waiters about some of the dishes and asking about a few of the ingredients. For the most part we were left to ourselves which was fine by us. The music was a bit loud but we could still talk to one another.

Though trendy the interior struck me as being a bit false with our table, for example, being a simple wood square painted black with obvious bumps and scrapes on the surface. The centrepiece of the of room was the area where the chefs prepared the sushi under a large circular ceiling fixture with a grill towards the wall being used for yakitori skewers.

The food was very good and looked absolutely amazing but I fear that it was a bit style over substance - Particularly with the incredible costs on the normal menu. Perhaps a great place to visit for a few drinks and a couple of light dishes of sushi but I am not sure I would suggest dining here without being prepared to pay for it.

Rating:

Review Date: 2015-03-07


Cuisine: Japanese

Address: 5th Floor, 240 Regent Street, London W18 3BR ENGLAND

Public Transport: TUBE Oxford Circus

Location: London (England) - Soho

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Telephone: +44 (0) 7478 0540

URL: http://aquakyoto.co.uk/