When I visited: November 2015
Location: London, near Oxford Circus
Team: Alberton Hernandez (Head Chef)
Rating in the Michelin Guide: Not rated in the Guide
What to wear: Men – jeans or nice trousers and a shirt; women – jeans and a smart top or a smart dress / workwear
Ambience: Trendy, dark
Course of the meal: Pigeon and wild mushrooms with Spanish rice
If I could change one thing: Saltiness of food
I visited Aqua Nueva with my partner Owl for a pre-theatre meal. We had some problems with the service at the start – our menus were showing different food and it took the waiters ages to check which one was correct and confirm what food was available, which was annoying when we were in a slight hurry. The drinks were also delivered well after some of the food, although my Aviation cocktail and my partner Owl’s Catalan Sour were very good when they did arrive.
We shared lots of tapas. The roasted red piquillo pepper with confit tuna belly, garlic and parsley dressing, was one of the best courses and was very well-balanced. The cured Iberian meat selection was pretty standard. The chestnut and black truffle terrine with wild mushroom raviolis and citric pumpkin was great in terms of texture but a little too salty, which unfortunately was a theme that continued with the soft grilled hand-dived scallops served with San Sebastian crab gratin and the soft poached egg with chorizo, pancetta and fried potatoes. In my opinion, the best course was the pigeon and wild mushrooms with Spanish rice, as the meat was lovely and tender and the texture was great.
I feel like Aqua Nueva could be a lot better than it is if it fixes the mistakes with service and tones down the salt. It’s a fun place to grab dinner and it’s in a great area for theatres, cinemas and shopping.