Made from the frozen stuff, some strategically placed sculptures and a few heaters, it’s not a full-on freezer with everything made of ice. It’s much more accessible, and far easier on your extremities. Cosy cashmere blankets are given to guests on arrival, and Aqua’s international feel and clientele almost fool you into thinking you’re halfway around the world.
THE GRUB: Wagyu suki-yaki with a quail egg is clean, though missing flavour, but the lip-smacking seared salmon sushi with guacamole has to be ordered twice.
BEHIND THE BAR: Choice is limited – there are five quality sakes and four sake cocktails – but that’s made up for in taste. Plus, all the drinks are served hot. The Japanese Mulled Wine is a surprisingly sweeter version of its European counterpart. Using Kyoto fushimizu jitate sake, as well as a Spanish tempranillo as a base, it is mixed with vodka, orange liqueur, cloves, cinnamon, star anise and citrus for a warming tipple that mixes well with cold sushi. The Aoki cocktail was similarly sweetened with apple and cinnamon.
BILL PLEASE: Food plates cost from £4.80; cocktails about £10.
VERDICT: Gimmicky, yes, and, of course, chilly, but the sushi and sake cocktails are worth risking frostbite. Open until the end of Februrary.
240 Regent Street (Entrance on 30 Argyll Street), W1B 3BR
Tube: Oxford Circus
Review: Clare Vooght