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Saturday, 27 February 2010

Aqua Spirit, Soho

A glowering lobby’s blood red drapes suggest Lucifer’s kingdom. A snappy gatekeeper, Cerberus-in-a-suit, determines who may enter its portals. My devilish charm swinging it, he summons a lift. In the twilight glow of an ante-chamber five floors above waits an Amazonian - all yang to the hound of Hades’ yin. ‘Welcome!’ Monumental doors slide open and, in the gloaming beyond, twinkles Aqua Spirit, the destination bar that serves Aquas Nuevo and Kyoto, stereo foodie troughs inspired, respectively, by Spain and er, Kyoto? Conceived in Hong Kong and plonked atop what was Dickins & Jones, some reviews have been hellish. But first, the grand tour. Down interminable mirrored halls we wander, half-glimpsing freakish sights in the Stygian gloom; a raging bull turned to stone and a hideous man-beast with the molten face of Heidi Fleiss. Damn! It’s my own reflection. Lured to a rooftop terrace bar, on e of three, we’re told it’s shut until Spring. Thanks, guys! Fi-na-lly, back at the main bar - a glowing circular pavilion where a surly satyr, with a half Mohican haircut that looks like an accident at student night at a provincial Albanian barber's, deigns to serve us. Confounding low expectations of a venue that’s nowhere near as groovy as it reckons, Jade Verdita - a rummy green tea and yuzu concoction served with wasabi peas - is a TKO. ‘Tastes like Molton Brown handwash’ grimaces chum. Pah! I’m hooked; soul sold to Satan, I work through a universally heavenly list.

Aqua Spirit, 30 Argyll St. W1 7478 0540