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|Address:||Fifth Floor, 30 Argyll Street, London W1B 3BR|
|Tel:||020 3589 3945|
|Price: £55.00||Wine: £22.50||Champagne: £72.50|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 12N-2.30pm 5.30-10.30pm (Thurs-Sat -11pm) Sun 12N-4pm|
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Arriving at Aqua, in the old Dickens and Jones department store building, it is all very swish with the heavy red velvet curtains and subdued lighting. It is here you meet the first receptionist. Then taking the lift to the 5th floor, you come to a 2nd receptionist where you give name and booking all over again, this receptionist take you to the maître d’, who takes your name and booking again and finally sits you down.
It is all very swanky and stylish inside, low lighting and dark woods, the sushi chefs at work in the centre of the restaurant. The bar area and the restaurant full of young and beautiful types, so I upset the tone there!
There is pretty good choice on the menu and they waitress encourages you to share the dishes, as it is more tapas style service with plates arriving when ready rather than coordinated French style of service. So for the four of us, we ordered 4 appetisers and four mains which were more or less served sequentially. This was maybe more down to table size than the kitchen as at most there was room for two dishes at any one time. Interestingly given the lack of space it was only with prompting that it occurred to anyone to take away the empty aperitif glasses away.
The food itself was very good, sweet and moist blackened cod every bit as good as Nobu, soft shell crab tempura, pork belly and Cray fish, beef with foie gras all delicious and memorable dishes. For me all the dishes were excellent, and certainly looked as beautiful as it tasted. It is a bit of an Atkins meal though, as the rice is a little incongruous with the meal as the lack of sauces and its minimalist nature precludes loading up your rice bowl as you might in less contemporary restaurant.
The desserts were equally delicious; I had small doughnuts served on yuzu curd, a thick lemony sauce, with a side dish of chocolate praline mouse. This was super delicious.
From a food point of view I thoroughly enjoyed all the dishes, and the sequential serving and sharing of each plate resulted in a more of a tasting menu experience. Service was a little slow to get started but soon moved fast and efficiently, perhaps a little too fast, they turn the tables and we were moved on before any coffees could be requested.
The ambience for me was a little dark and loud, but if I was single and a little younger I could see how this might appeal. My other gripe would be that everyone seems to make a bee line for the terrace for drinks, despite being mid July it was a chilly evening so the constant coming and goings, door slamming and cold drafts was a little annoying too. Incidentally if you do order drinks at the terrace bar, do take a book or a newspaper as it is a very long wait as the bar staff making the cocktails like to be seen intricately crafting cocktails rather than actually serving drinks, the one I watched getting made involved the glass being turned on the counter for a number of turns for no apparent reason.
For the four of us our final bill came to £440.10, of which £196 was drinks, so not at all unreasonable value. For the food I would return but the trendy ambience i.e. loud and dark, would put me off a return visit.
When paying the bill though do watch out for the double tipping when they hand you the machine, service would have been 7/10 if not for that.