Spanish Restaurant in Soho
Category : Bar, Restaurant
| Cuisine : Spanish
Address : 30 Argyll Street, Soho, London, W1F 7EB, UNITED KINGDOM
Web : www.aquanueva.co.uk
Opening Times : Mon-Tue: 5pm-12am; Wed-Fri: 12–2:30pm, 5pm–12am; Sat: 12pm-12:30am; Sun: Closed
Private Dining Room : Details
A few years ago there weren't many places in London where you could enjoy good food and drink from atop a building, and now there are a plethora. Aqua, owned by Hong Kong-based former finance lawyer David Yeo, was one of the first to create a haven of cool on top of the skyline, with a Japanese restaurant (Aqua Kyoto), and bar (Aqua Spirit), and the Spanish restaurant (Aqua Nueva). Since then the group has reached new echelons of flavour and taste with the installation of Aqua Shard and Hutong on the 31st and 33rd floors of one of London's most iconic buildings and, aiming to stay on top of their game, gave Nueva a modern refit to keep it contemporary. We popped in to investigate.
Robert Angell Designs, the same group responsible for Marcus, Kaspar's, Tredwell's and The Connaught, took the reins on the design and gave it a smouldering Moorish-inspired refurbishment. Mosaic flooring and intricately wrought ironwork bring to mind palaces like the Alhambra, whilst robust leathers provide rustic gracenotes. The room extends east to west in a long arch, which has been banded with illuminated tilework as an homage to the sherry casks of Jerez. There's an open plan kitchen and bar which season the room with a soupcon of flavour and the terrace bar area was visible from our table. In fact, you could look out over Mayfair.
The watchword at Aqua Nueva is sharing, and guests are encouraged to order a bevy of small plates to pass around the table. Head chef Alberton Hernandez has done a fine job ensuring that the flavours remain fresh and contemporary. Light dishes like seasonal white asparagus with pipirrana effervesce with freshness - the long spears were served parboiled to retain their crunch, then sliced through with a bit of acid from vinegar and tomatoes. Confit razor clams served in shell have a similar presentation and character, topped off with a marcona almond vinaigrette. However, the most flavourful fish dish was red mullet fillet with aioli and black ink rice parcels. The fish had been imbued with a salty, saline kiss and the squid ink in the rice had a seductive iodine finish.
The meat dishes were equally accomplished. As in Spain, pork tends to dominate this section of the menu. Confit crispy pork with langoustines was one of the lighter offerings here, whilst suckling pig impregnated with paprika marinated presa was rich as Croesus with a crunchy carapace of crackling. Our favourite, however, was most definitely the grilled Iberian secreto with aioli potatoes. Hidden behind layers of fat in the shoulder, the cut was grilled to perfection with a hit of charcoal.
We were impressed with all of the changes at Aqua Nueva, and are confident that it will remain a popular destination for years to come.