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Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Posted: Thu Oct 20 2011
On leaving tourist-thronged Argyll Street to check into the Aqua ‘concept’, you’re greeted by a dark, sinful-looking lobby. Take the lift to the fifth floor, where, after bypassing Japanese restaurant Aqua Kyoto, you arrive at the large, glitzy dining room and terrace of the Spanish part of the operation.
The location, hybrid offering and high prices (expect to blow £80 on a tapas lunch for two, including a couple of glasses of house wine) may make diners wonder who all this is for – but the stylish presentation and panoramic views temper such misgivings.
Pan con tomate was big, rustic and bold, with the required garlicky kick. Sardines with sun-dried tomato and creamed cheese terrines were also moist and moreish. Braised cabbage wrapped in pancetta and served with morcilla sounded amazing, but didn’t quite live up to expectations. Apart from a £22 ham platter, no cold dishes were on offer during our visit – on a hot August lunchtime.
Wines range from a decent £9 glass of albariño white to high-end Riojas; the dessert menu is well stocked with small, creamy classics. Service needs some work: staff stood around with quickly-cooling dishes, looking lost, until a maitre d’ came to sort things out.
Aqua Nueva 5th floor
entrance on Argyll Street
- Cross Street:
240 Regent Street
- Venue phone:
020 7478 0540
- Venue website:
- Opening hours:
Lunch served noon-2.30pm Mon-Sat. Dinner served 6-10.30pm Mon-Wed; 6-11pm Thur-Sat
Tube: Oxford Circus tube
Main courses £12-£29. Tapas £4-£22
- 5th floor
entrance on Argyll Street
- 020 7478 0540
- 5th floor
- Aqua Nueva
Average User Rating
2.8 / 5
- 5 star:4
- 4 star:1
- 3 star:0
- 2 star:2
- 1 star:5
I just cannot believe the lack of coutesy and absence of basic manners at this place. We dined at the Aqua Kyoto and paid for the private room in the restaurant. We were celebrating a birthday for my friend and not even a basic greeting from the manager who failed to even acknowledge us and not even come to room to wish Jedpfferson a happy birthday. UNFORGIVEABLE AND HE AND STAFF SHOULD PLAN WHO IS ATRENDING AND MAKE THEM FEEL WELCOM. We paid nearly £900 pounds and will never return. Yes the food was good but grossly overpriced and the whole place is absolutely clueless on service and how to tret people. The manager did not even ask the birthday boy for a drink on the house after spending this money. To everyone reading do yourselves a favour and go to professional dining such as Hakkersan or Mr Chow . The manager at this place needs immediate replacing .
The food comes highly recommended. Delicious and class. Unfortunately I was massively annoyed at the fact that the professional and hard worked conducted by the kitchen staff was totally shat on by the extremely unprofessional and rude behaviour of the service people. From the bad attitude by the individuals with broken English at the door to the embarrassingly poor behaviour from the waiters at the table. These guys need training from scratch. A night that had the potential to be awesome because of the food, decor and views was ruined by people who would not make the grade serving at Mc Donald's. Overall - delicious food, awesome venue, pathetic service. (Which comes at a discretionary charge).
I am surprised to read the comments below. We had the most amazing Spanish food and the maitre'd Mark was incredible in explaining every dish. Frankly we were rather stunned by how good the food and service was. Very pleasant surprise and we will be back very soon to try the Japanese next door which was heaving!
Amazing Spanish food plus the service was very excellent. Hostess gave excellent service and high recommended.
Expensive drinks. Rude door staff. Refusing entry when wearing shirt, jeans and shoes. Would not recommend.
I went to Aqua Nueva for dinner with friends on a Thursday night. We had been really looking forward to it and couldn't have been more disappointed!!! The service was appalling - every single member of staff I came across (and there were seemingly dozens of them swanning around with little to do) was rude and arrogant. Furthermore, when I went to the loo with my friend, on the way back one of the 'hostesses' physically grabbed my arm to stop us getting through when we had actually been sitting on the table right next to her for the last couple of hours! I'm intrigued to know what the point of hostesses are who don't even know who is eating in their restaurant! Service was exceptionally slow and we waited about half an hour to pay the bill so we could leave the restaurant and go to another bar - we certainly did not want to stay there any longer. All in all, I would strongly recommend that you avoid the restaurant and bar at all costs, and keep your feet firmly on terra firma as the views are simply not worth the terrible service!
Stunning place but statff are so rude! We wanted to sit down with our drinks and even though the place was about 7% full they gave as the smallest table and told that we would need to squeeze up! We pulled a chair over from one of the many empty tables but was told taht was not allowed. Some serious customer service is needed and with those prices you expect a gold one at that!
Amazing , possibly the best restaurant i have been to in London, being used to spending minimum of £100 for two on a usual meal, however this was 3 courses of amazing food and drink, well worth the money, amazing service, have spent many years going to top restaurants in London, Milan, Venice, Malaysia etc. and this is well up ther ! best tapas i have ever had !
Quite dissapointing first experience. Waitress unable to answer most of the menu queries, had to call someone else. Menu in Spanish does not translate to same ingredients in English. When asked what fruits they will include on the summer fruits dessert we were given a full list of summer fruits although we were having our meal in Nov... dish was served with three small fruit portions, majority being pomegranate seeds. Wine listed allocated to incorrect region...the only positive comment is that although they probably served half seabass to the three of us the main course was delicious
The colossus that is aqua is a gem of a place, Aqua nueva serves Spanish dishes that in my opinion are unrivalled in the city. The waitress was French but very knowledgeable about the cuisine and its origins, nothing was a problem and she smiled throughout. Yes this place gets busy, but that is a testament to its staff. I can say it is on my list of places to go on a regular basis
Not a fan and I shan't be rushing back, which is a pity as I had been looking forward to trying this place. I found the entire Aqua experience pretentious and underwhelming,, from the patronising and insincere luvvy greeters (the man downstairs with a clipboard instructred me to go to the fifth floor - there is only button in the lift! How stupid does he think I am!) to the slow and inattentive service at the bar (and you'll pay 12.5% service for the privilege of waiting to order your own drinks) to the lack of napkins and bar snacks (for those prices I expect some rice crackers with my cocktail). I was told snippily upon arrival that the outside terrace was full, so we were forced to stand in the middle of the bar/restaurant area and queue to get out there, even though we were already standing about 10 feet away at the bar - no flexibility or common sense whatsoever from the staff. Admittedly the terrace is very pleasant but at this point I was so fed up with the general attitude that I couldn't be bothered with it. The decor in Aqua Nueva is really impressive but it feels like a nightclub, and quite frankly I'd rather a tumbler of Rioja and plate of Jamon at Brindisa. Our waiter was well intentioned but not very well trained, and had zero wine knowledge (he just about recognised Pinot Noir, but didn't know that there was a Gruner Veltliner on the menu, never mind whether it was any good or not). At one point we had to ask someone where our other food dishes were, and the girl shrugged and said "you have no space", referring to the ridiculously large platters taking up our table (it's not our fault the plates are so big!). We eventually asked her to swap out some of our half-eaten mediocre food for something else equally mediocre. The bill was enormous and I was glad that I was not paying it!