I had a fab foodie weekend just gone with a day trip to London starting off with lunch at Aqua Kyoto just round the corner from Oxford Circus tube station booked through *Bookatable. Japanese is my all time favourite cuisine, every time we meet friends in London I always pick Japanese and there is so much on offer in London. Aqua Kyoto is actually set in the landmark former Dickins & Jones building, since it's on the top floor there is a fairly large roof terrace offering views over London so it's great for day / night.
We decided to book for lunch which was done easily enough through Bookatable online. We arrived at the entrance and we were told to head up to 5th floor, as the lift doors closed I could hear the lady call upstairs to let them know we were arriving. Warm welcome greeting from the lady as the lift doors open and we were quickly seated by a keen smiley waiter. The place was relatively quite for lunch our booking was for 1pm but as we left it got more and more busy.
We booked the Star Deal sample menu which included a cocktail each and a 3 course meal. I obviously opted for a non alcoholic drink which was pretty looking than hubby's whisky! Waiter was very informative explaining what menu's are available and how we can mix and match if only 1 of us wanted the Star deal etc... and we were given a bowl of edamame beans with shaved sea salt to nibble on while we looked through the menu. I must say the drinks menu is EXTENSIVE with a huge variety but it was on the pricey side but this is expected so it didn't surprise me.
Starter for myself:
Shiromi zakana makisushi white fish, shisho leaf maki, spicy tomato paper
Very tiny portions but very tasty, never tried spicy tomato paper before it was a little rubbery but complimented the rice / fish very well.
Omakase sashimi omakase sashimi, wild Japanese herb garden
Standard sashimi with the fish tasting very fresh and it's just melted in his mouth.
Mangatsuo sote lacquered salmon, edamame, miso sauce, crispy ohba leaf
This dish was extremely good with lots of different flavours mixed together but yet they all complimented each other very well. The lacquered salmon was cooked to perfection and it makes all the difference when you break it apart when you start eating. In my experience when salmon is cooked spot and its fresh it just flakes apart effortlessly it's not tough. I wasn't sure about the ohba leaf at first when I saw it. I've never eaten a tempura battered style leaf before but it was SO SO good, it was a little like tempura seaweed but not as tough in texture, the batter was seasoned very well which made the leaf extremely tasty. Once you mix that with the salmon, sauces, edamame beans together your mouth is just bursting with lots of delicious flavours.
Wagyu aka wain teriyaki Wagyu beef, red wine teriyaki, onion miso, rice nest, herbs
We have eaten wagu many times before in a Japanese restaurant so we had a certain expectation in our minds what it will taste like. Hubby said it was good however his preference would have been for it to be not as well cooked but it benefited me to be honest as I was able to eat the cooked piece on the end. He enjoyed it and again all the sauces decorations etc...all mixed it made the beef taste very good.
Gomo keiki Japanese rhubarb crème, sesame cake, Japanese rose vanilla ice cream, rhubarb oil
Desert was the same for us both as there wasn't an option which we didn't mind to be honest. When it arrived first impressions was there was a lot going on with lots of colours / textures / flavours so I was keen to tuck in quickly. The way I would describe everything again is that it's a bit of everything, one of those dishes where you mix a bit of everything together they go surprising well together. We both cleaned up our plates fairly quickly and was rather sad that was the end of our 3 course meal.
During the course of our meal hubby had already said we are definitely coming back after our little one arrives next year for a big meal since I can fully eat sushi again! The table next to us were eating bento boxes and they looked SO good! The service is exceptional, all the staff are friendly, informative and you certainly don't feel uncomfortable, it was a very relaxed Saturday afternoon for us before a bit of shopping.
Bookatable are currently offering a variety of menus from the 2 options of 3 course meals through to 6 course taster menus. I would highly recommend booking the Star Deal to give you a taster of what this place has to offer however if you are a big drinker be warned drinks are on the expensive side but for us we are more into our food so don't mind going back.