After many years residing at One Peking Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, Aqua, the flagship restaurant of Aqua Restaurant Group, recently changed its address to the new H Zentre, also in TST. But this change of location doesn’t compromise on the same stunning, panoramic views of Victoria Harbour for which the restaurant is famous, with the new venue featuring floor-to-ceiling windows showcasing the glittering Hong Kong skyline and outdoor terraces where guests can soak up more of the views on fair-weather days.
Designed by award-winning London designer Robert Angell in partnership with Aqua Restaurant Group founder David Yeo, the interior is a play of light across shiny surfaces, reminiscent of reflections off water. A glittery, mirrored catwalk connects the reception area, bar and lounge to the central dining room.
The menu remains Italian and Japanese inspired, and it has been refreshed under the guidance of Italian chef Andrea Mura, a recent transplant from London.
As Hong Kong undergoes another round of dining restrictions owing to the recent Omicron wave, we reserved our tasting at lunchtime to conform to the new dine-out rules. Day drinking is certainly making a comeback these days, so we went a little wild at lunch and sampled two cocktails. The first reminds us of The Fast and the Furious film with its name, Tokyo Drift ($188), a blend of Tanqueray gin, strawberry sake and genmaicha-spiced Japanese mango, infused with a cloud of wood smoke tableside.
Green Olive ($178) also comes with a touch of smoke, thanks to the fresh rosemary that’s burnt before serving. This drink is a concoction of green olive-infused Mancino Secco, burnt rosemary, orange bitters and Prosecco, topped with a single green olive to be consumed before the first sip of the drink.
Our tasting of the Roma to Tokyo set lunch ($588) began with a starter of Puglia burrata, pappa al pomodoro, basil emulsion and black truffle. The sweet and tart pappa al pomodoro (thick Tuscan bread soup with tomato) is incredibly flavourful, and its acidity helps to balance the richness of the burrata. We also enjoyed the added crunch of the toasted bread cubes.
Since the menu is a blend of Japanese and Italian flavours, a Chef’s selection of sushi and sashimi follows the Italian starter. The seafood selection on our visit included salmon, yellowtail, scallop and tuna.
The duck ragu tagliatelle with dark chocolate and ricotta salata cheese intrigued us, although we couldn’t quite detect any trace of chocolate in the sauce.
The wild sea bass was pan-seared with a beautifully golden crust, accompanied by crabmeat topped with caviar, orange-braised fennel and a creamy bagna càuda sauce. We just wished that the portions were slightly bigger.
The suckling pig with balsamic-glazed pear, carrot and red onion purée is the perfect dish for winter. The skin of this suckling pig is akin to the Spanish variety, which isn’t overly crispy, but it has a sticky, collagen-rich texture that we enjoyed. Again, we just wished that the portions were a bit larger, and we’re not usually big eaters!
The signature tiramisu, served in a chocolate shell, comes with a chocolatey coffee sauce that’s poured tableside.
Aqua is definitely a restaurant that impresses with its gorgeous interiors and stunning, panoramic views. The food is satisfying, although we feel it plays second fiddle to the overall sensory experience of dining in this very stylish restaurant.
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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