I've been to Aqua, the fifth floor restaurant/ bar just behind Oxford Circus, many times for drinks on their fabulous rooftop terrace, but went for dinner for the first time last week. It comprises two restaurants and a bar; the cocktail bar Aqua Spirit, the Spanish Aqua Nuevo and the Japanese Aqua Kyoto. We went for the latter to try out the new Vitamin D menu, which didn't disappoint.
Head chef Paul Greening created this healthy, vitamin-rich menu to celebrate summer, filled with nutrients to keep bones and teeth strong. We get most of our vitamin D from the sun, but as almost 80% of adults spend the majority of their time indoors, we need a booster from our diet too.
the chefs in action
English rock oysters with citrus ponzu and ikura
Japanese cuisine is naturally rich in vitamin D and the menu features ingredients like mackerel, harameki mushrooms and ikura roe. The set menu starts with a zesty 'Sunshine' cocktail made using Apollo 11, elderflower and grapefruit, then there's a starter, main and dessert with a choice of three for each.
We had salted edamame beans and miso soup with tofu and fresh wakame, then from the starters I chose the English rock oysters in an unusual citrus sauce (nice to see something other than tabasco and red onion or shallots for a change) and he chose the spinach rolls. Between the appetiser and main we were served beef wagyu gyoza dumplings and chicken skewers, which were both fantastic.
wagyu beef gyoza with onion miso and ponzu pearls
chicken and spring onion yakitori skewers with fresh truffle
For a main, I chose the mixed fresh sashimi served on ice and he went for the grilled salmon. Alongside our mains we had some delicious crispy tempura (not too oily, which it so often is), topped with seaweed and a spicy sauce for dipping.
rock shrimp tempura with spicy chilli sauce
grilled salmon glazed with unagi and Japanese mustard soy
For desserts we had the tamago with Japanese knotweed sorbet and an incredible apple shaped concoction made from sugar (like a toffee apple), filled with warm baked apple and sorbet. We finished with cocktails (vodka, fresh raspberry and lime for me, rum, passion fruit and lime for him) and vowed we'd be back soon to try out the Spanish restaurant next door.
the citrussy sunshine cocktails
The Vitamin D menu is available Monday – Saturday for lunch at 12-2.30pm and early dinner from 5.30-7pm until 30 August. If you're a fan of Japanese, you'll love it as much as I did.
Aqua Kyoto, 5th Floor, 240 Regent St, London W1B 3BR