Aqua Kyoto review: Tasty and healthy Japanese cuisine with the ‘New Year Solutions’ menu
After all the eating and boozing over Christmas, many of us try to start the new year with a healthier approach. Often the word healthy can be translated as dull when we envisage such dishes in our head. However, Soho restaurant Aqua Kyoto has managed to create a menu which combines food which is both nutritious and tastes gorgeous. The New Year Solutions is a special menu which runs from January to March 2015, offering three courses of delicious and nourishing Japanese fare.
Aqua Kyoto is an upmarket Japanese restaurant located on the 5th floor of a Regent Street building (accessed from Arygll Street) – with its sister restaurant Aqua Nueva serving Spanish cuisine next door. The wide square room features contemporary red Asian-influenced interiors. The wide French windows at the back open out to a roof terrace, which would be amazing on a summer evening (on the rainy, cold January day I visited, perhaps not so much). My party of three visited Aqua Kyoto for a late lunch and were shown to a table right by the windows.
As we were having lunch in such a glamorous setting, a glass of champagne seemed a nice addition to the meal. I sensibly accompanied the bubbly with water, which was topped up regularly by the attentive waiters. While we were all booked in for the New Solutions Menu, we opted to start off-menu with a small plate of sushi, which had been recommended. We ordered the Salmon Sushi topped with Lobster Bisque which was absolutely delicious. I’m a huge fan of lobster – quite possibly one of my favourite flavours ever – so the combination of eating it alongside salmon sushi was a new, but enjoyable adventure for me.
The New Solutions menu features a choice of three starters. I chose the Horenso Goma Ae (spinach rolls with roasted sesame and goma dressing). The presentation was brilliant – two cones of spinach with the waiter mixing the dressing with the sesame seeds at the table so we could inhale the gorgeous scent before it was poured over the spinach. I absolutely loved the dish and it was my personal favourite of the three courses.
For main, I ordered the Sake Nabe (Salmon nabe with clear dashi soup and udon noodles and oba leaf). It looked incredibly healthy, but also tasted good. I actually found it too filling for lunchtime thanks to the udon noodles and unfortunately wasn’t able to finish, to my regret. Finally, to end there is only one dessert option – Akamiso chokoraito Macha garetto (red miso chocolate and green tea galette with miso milk sorbet and a sesame wafer). Despite being chocolate, the miso and green tea elements gave it a lighter flavour – avoiding that heavy, sickly feeling some chocolate desserts can conjure up. The mix of ingredients convinced you it was healthier than your average chocolate pudding and it didn’t last too long on my plate before it had vanished.
Overall, the set menu was delicious and nutritious – two words I don’t often use together. What particularly stood out to me was I wasn’t left with that uncomfortable over-stuffed feeling I often have after a three-course meal. Instead, I felt satisfied and energised. I liked the design of the venue and the service was very good. I’ll definitely be back to try out the Infinity Brunch or cocktails on the terrace during the summer months.
- Aqua Kyoto, 5th Floor, 240 Regent Street (entrance on Argyll Street), Soho, W1B 3BR. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus. The New Year Solutions menu features three courses for £27 and is available from 5 January-28 March 2015 between 12-2.30pm on Mon-Sat and 6pm-close on Mon to Thur. For more information and booking, visit the Aqua Kyoto website.
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