Nueva's bullring meets catwalk corridor entrance photo by Chris Osburn
Sharing the top floor of the former Dickins & Jones department store with Japanese-inspired Aqua Kyoto and the swishy drinky-drinks bar Aqua Spirit, Nueva wows with its bullring meets catwalk corridor of an entrance, a formal but comfy dining room and a spacious terrace aloft above Regent Street. Annoyingly, Aqua Nueva boastfully claims a Regent Street address, but entrance is via Argyll Street (opposite the Palladium). Sadly, the resto's website annoys a little too. It's kinda clunky, not intuitive and requires a tad more clicking than should be necessary to turn off the music, find the menu and directions, figure out how to scroll etc, etc, etc. Still, don't get hung up on the poor web design. This review's not so much about frustrated clicking as it is satisfactory supping.
For the most part, Nueva's menu impresses. On our visit, we started with an eloquently constructed huevo pochado con migas de pastor y consomé (poached egg with pancetta, paprika-fried breadcrumbs and beef consommé) which set our expectations for the rest of the meal scrumptiously high. A main course of presa parrilla con chimichurri (roast Iberian neck of pork marinated with chimchurri) competently met the standard set by those fine tasting migas. Other dishes, such as a refined tapa serving of morcilla and the oxtail main, were certainly edible but didn't come nearly as close to overwhelming us. However, we absolutely adored our bottle of 2006 Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero and found Nueva's Spanish-led wine list a compelling read. Too stuffed for dessert, Londonist nevertheless had room to knock back a glass of sherry and were pleased indeed to end such a lovely meal with a syrupy quaff of Alvear Montilla.
For all its flash, prices aren't outrageous. Tapas and starters are priced from £4.50, mains cost about £15-20 and puds are £6-7. A £25 (including service) tapas menu lunch is available and seems like good value for money (especially considering the snazzy setting). That bottle of Emilio Moro was in the £35 range with more affordable (as well as less affordable) options listed along side a selection of by the glass wines (that Alvear cost six quid). Service is prompt and unobtrusive but please note that Nueva had invited us to come round and were expecting us when we did.
Aqua Nueva is purportedly located on the Fifth floor of 240 Regent Street (W1B 3BR) but you'd do better heading around the block to 30 Argyll Street. More info at www.aqua.com.hk.