To be drinking and dining in the sun-drenched plazas of Spain’s gorgeous little towns is many folks’ idea of heaven. And whilst this may not sound immediately achievable in the heart of central London, let us introduce you to Aqua Nueva, a delightful spot, which marries Regent Street glamour with traditionally inspired Spanish cuisine. After the success of their tomato-led Tomatina Menu back in the summer, Aqua Nueva newest dishes draw inspiration from the north west of Spain instead: the Galicia region.
Galicia is known for its fresh seafood (thanks to the region’s close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean) and beloved local delicacies. Aqua Nueva celebrates these traditional dishes, serving them up with an innovative twist. Expect specials such as oxtail and avocado empanadas; Galician-style octopus with green mojo; and hand-dived scallops, saffron onion and Iberian ham – plus, of course, the Padrón pepper. The limited-time Galician dishes are highlighted on the a la carté menu with a scallop shell, renowned for marking the route of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. Thankfully, there is no 800-kilometre trek to conquer before you settle down for your meal here…
The restaurant’s dishes, whether from Galicia or other areas of Spain, are perfectly cooked and flavoured, with the meat on the soft and succulent. We’re talking slide-off-the-bone soft on the beef short ribs. For a creamy but crunchy hit, be sure to add a selection of potato croquettes to your meal. And what is a dining out experience without dessert? Arguably the menu’s crowning glory is their chocolate orange churros. This dessert was on another level and we could eat those all. day. long.
The foods’ bold flavours are perfectly accompanied by Aqua Nueva’s drinks menu. The wines are second to none, hailing from the Galician region’s natural landscapes, which produce wonderfully fresh, crisp and fruity vinos. And if wine isn’t your tipple of choice, an authentic alternative awaits: a G&T, with Nordés – a local Galician gin. Their whole cocktail menu is pretty special, with unique concoctions, plus special Christmas options during December. The service in the whole restaurant is great, with friendly staff ensuring glasses are never empty; topping you up until your bottle is empty. You can book a table here.
Meanwhile, if you pop along to Aqua Nueva for brunch, you’re going to be equally delighted by what you find. La Fiesta Brunch is available on Saturday lunchtimes only, and you can enjoy a selection of tapas inspired by southern Spain. Starting with salmorejo (a classic Andalusian soup), the brunch moves on to crystal bread and aioli, Spanish tortilla with a piquillo purée, and a selection of snackable croquettes.
Save some room for the rest, because after a platter of Spanish skewers (with paprika-marinated chicken, chorizo and chimichurri, and seared salmon in a sherry dressing), you’ll be invited to munch on raspberry churros, which you’ve just got to dunk into a rich Pedro Ximénez chocolate sauce. And because this is a London brunch, you can of course make it bottomless, with the choice to add 90 minutes of limitless cava, sangria, or Agua de Valencia: a cocktail of cava, orange juice, vodka, and gin. Make a brunch reservation here.
Whilst everything on the plate is utterly enchanting, we shouldn’t overlook the splendour of Aqua Nueva itself. The striking interior décor, with lashing of gold accents and elegant lighting, is centred by a glorious cocktail bar – but up on the roof is where you’ll find the restaurant’s true hidden gem. A charming roof terrace overlooks Regent Street, and when the sun shines and the cocktails flow, it’s just like perching on the rooftop bars of Valencia.
Either of Aqua Nueva’s excellent menu will have you leaving with a smile on your face, but don’t hang around too long to book: the restaurant regularly freshens up its menus to hero a different region of Spain and style of cooking. You can make your reservation here, and then prepare for an unforgettable meal!
Also published on Medium.