Last week Ben and I were very kindly invited down to Aqua Kyoto on Argyll Street in London to sample their new Home Grown Menu. Executive Chef Paul Greening has created an ‘urban farm’ within the kitchen at Aqua, which the Head Chef very kindly gave us a tour of, before we sampled the food.
In an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, all the home grown menu ingredients are GMO free and completely organic. The greenhouse pods they are growing in have a temperature and light controlled environment helping the plants grow 50% faster which also makes it so much more sustainable!
They are growing Mizuna, Shungiko, Edible Marigold flowers and stems and many others. We got to taste a few of the leaves, all with such distinct and different flavours.
A glass of champagne started us off, before my mum joined us (Aqua very kindly accommodated her and also offered her lunch, but she’d already eaten). Accompanied by some Edamame while we scanned the menu. Ben and I both chose completely different meals. Due to Ben’s fish allergy, we never eat fish at home so I always go for fish when we’re out.
I started with braised Genmaicha Octopus niboshi wafers, aqua home-grown salad leaves and kinome miso ponzu. The octopus wasn’t the best I’ve ever had, but the combination with the home-grown salad was delicious. So flavoursome and fresh.
Ben had the mizuna miso & green chilli aubergine, homemade shisho karage, furikake and wasabi salt. The only way to describe this dish is that it is a little like aubergine profiteroles. I enjoyed them, but with such a strong flavour, the portion didn’t need to be so big!
The other starter option was the ‘Osaka’ style sushi which looked absolutely delicious and I think I might have preferred to the Octopus. Although, of course, the Octopus was delicious too!
Our cocktail arrived before our next course. A delicious sweet but tangy concoction. It’s rare that Ben and I both like the same cocktails, but we both agreed this was delicious!
For mains, Ben predictably went for the baby chicken marinated in ginger and yuzu koshu with aqua farm Japanese herbs. Chicken and ginger is one of his favourite combinations, so he absolutely loved this.
I chose the teriyaki salmon with braised home-grown shungiku and sesame miso dressing. Teriyaki is one of my favourite flavours. I can say this was hands-down the best Teriyaki salmon I’ve ever had. The salmon was cooked to perfection and beautifully rare. The shungiku was delicious, but the salmon completely filled me up and I was gutted to not be able to finish the greens.
We decided to have one of each of the puddings. Edible ice cream cones with black sesame, green tea and satsuma sorbet – the satsuma was my favourite, so gorgeously fresh and delicious.
Milk chocolate soya cream jelly, nato brown sugar sable, Japanese garden aqua farm shisho. This tasted like a sort of chocolate mousse brownie which I loved!
We finished up with teas and coffees, before heading home to take Pepi for an afternoon walk!
The Aqua Kyoto Home Grown Menu is just £30 per person and includes three courses and a signature cocktail. I personally think the menu is such good value for money. The quality of the foods are undeniable and Paul has worked so hard to make sure that such a global brand like Aqua does its bit to be sustainable.