Just before Christmas, I was invited to lunch with some of my favourite bloggers to check out the new look Aqua Kyoto on Argyll Street. If you haven’t been here, go, as it is my husband’s favourite Japanese restaurant, and trust me, he has high standards, so it must be good.
The refurbishment is beautiful, it was nice before, but now it feels more luxurious with its dramatic architectural lighting and mirrored walls – I absolutely love how it plays with light and shadow. Talking to the Aqua Kyoto team on the new look, they said it was inspired by the “philosophies of Japanese culture and the quest for finding purity out of the impure”.
As well as a refreshing dining room, there is also a new sushi and robata grill counter, which features elegant patterns of marble which draw inspiration from the Japanese marbling technique, Suminagashi. I also love that they went with an open kitchen as I always find it fascinating watching chefs at work – especially when it comes to sushi.
Can’t have a new look without new additions to the menu and it was amazing to try out a few of the new dishes, from the new fillet of Chilean sea bass with aonori yuzu dashi and sea vegetables, which was incredible to the chirasi don bowls, described as Japanese-style version of the Hawaiian poké bowls. I tried the plant-based bowl that served avocado, wakame, glazed tofu, radish, lotus root and pickled vegetables on a bed of rice. It was so delicious and perfect for lunchtime or as a side dish. The chirasi don bowls are also available with shiso-marinated salmon, spicy yellowfin tuna and shiso and lime-marinated chicken.
Aqua Kyoto is also putting a big focus, especially for lunch, on its new Bento box selection, which I’m so pleased about as I love the idea of being able to try lots of small dishes. You can get vegetarian, chicken and salmon bento boxes, as well as the deluxe go zen bento box, (seen in the image above), which has 12 dishes, including wagyu beef, black cod, tuna tataki, rock shrimp tempura, maki and sushi.
I tasted the amazing veggie box and I was very impressed with its offering of grilled yuzu miso truffle asparagus, tempura and vegetable maki, rice and miso soup, which is always a great starter when at Aqua Kyoto.
Other delicious dishes on the tasting menu was the restaurants signature matcha green tea soba noodles, edamame, Japanese mushrooms, onion teriyaki and tamago, always one of my favourites, as well as the tempura selection, I’m such a fan of the padron pepper with shiitake with shiso yuzu mayonnaise.
You’d think we would be full, but I will always make room for dessert at Aqua Kyoto and we had the most ‘Forest floor’ dessert, which looked like a work of art, and tasted incredible containing yuzu oba leaf cream, almond praline, chocolate and azuki with sour cherry sorbet. We also tried the impressive-looking yuzu parfait, hazelnut crocanti, with satsuma sorbet that was light and refreshing.
It is safe to say that I loved the new look, the subtle luxe Japanese touches are stunning, and the new additions to the menu were just delicious, and I love that there is much more now on the menu for vegetarians. It is also brilliantly located, especially for lunch, as it is on Regent Street just above the shops.