Aqua Kyoto is the Japanese half of the Aqua restaurants in Soho, approaching Carnaby Street. The other restaurant on the same floor is Aqua Nueva, which is a Spanish restaurant. Both restaurants have pretty cool adjoining bars and rooftop terraces, all of which I recommend, but as you’d expect this post is only about the restaurant – Aqua Kyoto, to be exact. Before I begin, I must add there is also Aqua Shard, which as the name makes obvious, is located at the shard. I’ve been there for breakfast and NYE, and I recommend, if only for the views.
Shiima and I have been to Aqua Kyoto a few times, probably 3 or 4, because the menu does have a good amount of chicken dishes, which is ideal for Shiima. The restaurant is about a minute walk from Oxford Circus Station, and on the 5th floor of its building. Soon as you step out of the rather exquisite lift, you are faced with the reception desk, where you are checked in and led to either of the restaurants or the bar. Aqua Kyoto is an expansive room, darkly lit with modern decorations, and with a beautifully designed sushi bar and grill in the centre of the room, underneath a rather spectacular and somewhat traditional Japanese light structure. We were sat in the middle of the room, beside the sushi bar.
What we ordered
We ordered still water as we were handed our menus, and it took about five minutes for us to decide what to eat. Shiima ordered Edamames, Wagyu gyoza, and Chicken yakitori skewers for starters, and miso glazed baby chicken with spicy vegetable and egg rice. I ordered the wagyu beef nigiri, the eel nigiri, the salmon roll topped with lobster & miso bisque, and boneless chicken wings for starters, and the black cod with yuzu curd for my main.
The starters came when ready – the first was, as you’d expect, the edamames, which was good, as usual. The Wagyu gyoza arrived next, and we both enjoyed it. It was steamed and the wagyu filling was light, plus the ponzu pearls on top is a good touch.
My sushi came next … and it was glorious lol. Both the wagyu and the eel nigiri were incredibly delicious. In both cases, the eel and the wagyu were lightly cooked just to perfection, and then seasoned immaculately. I didn’t even need the soy or the wasabi. The salmon roll topped with the lobster & miso bisque has been a favourite of mine for years. The lobster & miso bisque topping is what makes the roll exceptional; it’s actually more mousse-like. It’s a really tasty dish.
Then both chicken starters arrived. The chicken yakitori was really delicious. Cooked on the grill, but still tender, and the marinade was lightly sweet and spicy. I love the boneless chicken wings, and to Shiima’s disgust, I eat it whole, even the bony tip! Lol. It’s marinated with ginger lime miso, which is a bit sweet. Shiima enjoys it too, but hates that I devour the bony tips that she doesn’t eat lol. It’s the Nigerian in me. Ha!
Our mains came together. My black cod was really good, nothing extraordinary I admit, but really good. It was about par with the black cod at other top restaurants, although slightly sweeter. The cod was fresh and perfectly perfectly grilled. Shiima’s miso glazed baby chicken was also really good, and a good portion too. As the name makes clear, it’s glazed with miso and so tastes a tad like black cod. Shiima enjoyed it, and when she was done enjoying it, I enjoyed finishing it off! Neither of us enjoyed the rice though, but it was perfectly presented.
We decided to have a look at the dessert menu, but as we’d expected, none of the desserts interested us. But I imagine if you have a taste for desserts with yuzu, black sesame, and or tofu there’d certainly be a dessert that interests you.
Aqua Kyoto is expensive, without a doubt, but that ought to be expected, as it’s a “fancy” place lol. But the food is excellent, and both the service and décor are top notch – so, you do get what you pay for. I recommend for romantic dates, foodies with a somewhat heavy wallet lol, sushi bar dining, and special occasions, including somewhat big groups (4 to 8 people).
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Amen’s Star Dish: Salmon Roll with Lobster & Miso Bisque
Shiima’s Star Dish:
Price: 40+ each (without alcoholic drinks)
Ratings: 4.9 out of 5