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With five floors between its guests and Regent Street, this swish Spanish restaurant, bar and terrace adjacent to Aqua Kyoto serves up both soaring views and flavours. Having begun to slip off the radar as a West End destination in recent years, there’s a new manager and a new look: the curved roof of the tunnel-like dining room is now copper-coloured and unadorned, the room accessorised with gold chainmail curtains, dark leather seats and lamps glowing amber – it’s all very brooding and shadowy. Luckily, the tapas served here are still lively and jam-packed with superb flavour. Head chef Alberto Hernandez is still in place, flexing his elBulli-trained muscles with dishes including plump red mullet fillet with rich and dense filo pastry-wrapped black ink rice, and intensely meaty Iberian pork grilled to perfection; each of the seven tapas we tried provoked a satisfied grin. The confit beetroot with supremely tangy and creamy deep-fried Monte Enebro cheese is unmissable, while pretty, light desserts are a fitting finish. Wines are predictably Spain-orientated while the cocktails are excellent – the Catalan Pisco is a scorched-sugar highlight. A new brood of waiting staff was still finding its groove on our early visit, but this will improve if the ambition here is to be realised. Prices are steep and there are far more memorable views of London these days, but you won’t forget the taste of the tapas here as easily.
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StreetSmart works with over 500 restaurants nationwide by adding £1 to every bill throughout November and December, which is donated to local homeless charities.
One of my favourite places to meet for drinks in summer is the Aqua rooftop bars by Oxford Circus. I went for dinner at Aqua Kyoto last summer, then visited the modern Spanish sister restaurant Aqua Nuevo last month for the first time and we weren't disappointed.We went for the New Year Solutions menu, available 5 January - 28 March, offering dishes like soft poached egg served with beef consommé and pancetta, excellent red prawns croquettes, glazed 24 hour glazed marinated oxtail, salmon and crab mousse with mussels, black cuttlefish rice served with aioli, Catalonia-style roasted vegetables with romesco and...
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