When it comes to food we love to try new things. Fact. So when we found out Aqua, one of London’s best Japanese restaurants, and current holder of two rosettes had a new Aqua Kyoto menu there was more than a little smile on our face…
What makes this menu special is Aqua Kyoto’s head chef, Paul Greening has worked with executive chef for the Aqua restaurant group, Iwahahsi-San to produce something that showcases the flavours, techniques and culinary skills of Japanese and English cuisine working together – echoing aqua kyoto’s mission to deliver the best in contemporary Japanese cuisine.
If you don’t know why we were quite as excited as we were allow us to explain who Paul Greening is… Originally from Nelson New Zealand, Paul is a multi-award winning chef both in New Zealand and Australia, working in such places as Pier in Sydney which has been voted in the San Pellegrino Top 100.
[Explaining some of the dishes we had] Paul studied Microbiology at university and became interested in the use of this scientific discipline in food – so its little surprise he trained as a chef and quickly garnered awards including Commis of The Year and a silver medal representing New Zealand’s Junior Culinary Team in Japan…
Paul’s expertise lead him to working in Europe working with some of the very best three Michelin star chefs and his hard working efforts let him to lead the Kitchen of Dish restaurant in Sydney where he was awarded One Hat Status, The Bent Fork Award and Young Australian Chef of the Year. Are you getting it yet? This guy is magic!
On Paul’s return back to Europe Paul had stints with D&D London, Living Ventures overseeing the start up of Australiasia restaurant receiving rave reviews. Paul’s career spans over twenty years where he has been involved in many different cuisine’s and has had the opportunity to work around the globe in many of the worlds leading restaurants.
Get it now? Good!
On to the menu in question… as we said its new, its different and what made this menu particular special is that Paul has a unique talent to sourcing ingredients that no one else is using or even has access too!
Take for example our two favourite dishes both the amazing ‘mekajiki no karashi shoyu yaki‘ aka soya mustard swordfish belly, avocado & sesame – Paul is the only person in the country with access to and using this cut. And there is also the ‘kobe gyu‘ aka kobe beef… but wait for it is grade 11! Previously unavailable in the Europe for the last 20 years! Melt in your mouth awesomeness and then some.
This is not to say that the rest of the menu was not spectacular because it was! With each dish Paul demonstrated why he is the best at what he does. Each ingredient individually thought about and how that paired with the other elements of the dish. The seaweed in the ‘kanu hijiki sarada‘ (crab salad with tomato dashi soup & seaweed) was specially selected from the UK as were the Japanese mushrooms in the ‘chassoba kinaka ae‘ (green tea soba noodles with Japanese mushrooms).
We enjoyed a banquet menu of twelve dishes, some drawn from each of the chef’s menus and some created especially for the occasion. Iwahashi-san’s masterful sashimi and sushi platter and melting Kobe beef (grade 11, remember) were perfectly complemented by Paul’s sea grape and grilled scallops and signature crab salad with tomato dashi bubble.
The meal finished up with two desserts, a chocolate and passionfruit dome with a powerful ginger ice-cream and Paul’s stunning new never before seen signature dessert – Fuji apple with crème fraîche ice-cream, a blown-sugar apple filled with apple mousse and a caramel ‘core’ – yes its as good as it sounds!
Couple this with fabulous presentation of the food and an atmosphere that perfectly matches the blend on English and Japanese culture and style and you have something pretty special in your midsts.
No doubt in our minds this is a menu that you need to check out and enjoy… full details of said menu can be found here: sample aqua kyoto experience menu
And once you have experienced the eating and drinking the bonus news is that they have a rather fine terrace the you can enjoy a cigar on as well a choice of premium spirits and cocktails.