Japanese restaurant Aqua Kyoto looks to the sea for their latest summer Marine Menu.
Fish, in all its variations, has always been something Aqua Kyoto has excelled at. Its dedicated sashimi and sushi bar at the front of the restaurant is a credit to that. But behind the kitchen doors, there is so much more at work as chef Paul Greening flexes his microbiology muscle to create the restaurant’s latest offering, the Marine Menu, which is awash with some pretty wonderful sea flavours.
There are three courses to get through and one set cocktail thrown in the mix, although the original Sea Stone martini with vodka, elderflower and a sting of absinthe, may be replaced with a sweeter, more refreshing cucumber variant to help ease you into the meal more gently.
Naturally, the chef’s selection of sashimi, which can include salmon, tuna and scallops, served on a bed of ice is a vibrant way to start, otherwise the Cornish crab rolls topped with a sliver of unagi offers just enough bite before slipping down nicely.
The fish love affair continues with the mains. There’s a warming bowl of somen noodles with some tender salmon, fish omelette and Japanese vegetables in a sweet broth, or go all-out with a beautiful piece of delicate black cod with yuzu curd, kombu seaweed and vegetarian caviar.
Seaweed also finds its way into the set dessert – a black sesame and salted kombu chocolate fondant with matcha and seaweed ice cream and white chocolate soil. The chocolate sponge is virtually gluten-free as only a smidgen of wheat flour is used and far from being overpowering, as you would expect fragrant sesame to be, the oozing rich fondant is sweet with a hint of saltiness and just a subtle trace of sesame. You wouldn’t know it but the chef’s fascination with foraged seaweed means that even the matcha ice cream, which is seriously tasty, is laden with the stuff.
The seaweed is dehydrated, shaved down, then churned with some matcha powder into ice cream to produce the finished product. We could happily eat whole tubs of the ice cream for the rest of the summer were it available. On that note, at least you’ll have a scoop per visit whilst the menu is still around, just make sure you book in before the summer is up.
The Marine Menu costs £35 per person and is available for lunch and dinner until the end of August 2015.
Aqua Kyoto, 5th Floor, 240 Regent Street (entrance at 30 Argyll Street), London W1B 3BR. aquakyoto.co.uk