68-70 Clapham High St, London SW4 7UL
Aquum, to be fair, deserves a lot of credit for the job it’s doing down in The Clapham, a saaf Landan area where everyone appears to be into jogging. The locals could be jogging a lot to burn off the calories served up amongst the bundles of eateries around the area.
The High Street is littered with food joints like spots on a greasy teenager, all sorts of cuisines from all sorts of countries, and a really good Greek offering can be found at Aquum. I’m not a Claphamite, but if I were, I’d be tempted to visit this place regularly.
From what I gather, it’s predominantly renowned for being a nightclub, or at least the drinks menu indicates that’s the case since I wouldn’t normally have the option to order magnums in a traditional restaurant. I didn’t order one this time either, but I did try a lot of the Greek food and I liked it a lot.
The prices don’t go sky high, with probably the priciest dishes being the grilled Mediterranean Sea Bass, Chargrilled Ocotopus with Fava Beans or Chargrilled Beef Rump; and they’re all only thirteen or fourteen pounds. I’m going to try two out of the three but not before I dive into starters and salads.
The assorted bread basket gives you a selection of organic sourdough, organic focaccia and koulouri rusk, which means the only one you’re missing out on is the pitta bread but we don’t need that for tonight. Plus the price for the assortment is the same as ordering the focaccia on its own, so live a little and get the mixture.
With the breads you can get dips, two of them for seven quid or four of them for twelve. Do you see a theme evolving? Me too, spread the love and go for the sharing or multiple options. Bread and taramasalata is the combination I’ve been anticipating until tonight, but we’ll take a fav pea dip too.
So how are we getting on so far? Well, the bread’s brilliant and it’s going to leave a lasting impression – we know where to recommend for good bread in Clapham now. The dips are great too with the taramasalata just edging out the fava pea, but if you’re a vegetarian then the fava pea is a great choice.
If you want to talk your veggie passion even further then salads are always a great option in Greek menus with Aquum’s Greek salad being fresh, colourful and tasty. You can knock is back with a nifty dish called the Halloumi Martini, which is a plate of finely seared Halloumi cheese served with a herb and tomato essence. It’s light, refreshing and packed with flavour.
Moving into the main courses gives you a hard decision to make – I’m in the mood for meat, so the Chargrilled Rump dominates my thought process but I’ve got enough room to also try the Chargrilled Octopus and fava beans.
The beef comes in thick, pink slices and has a tangy drizzle of shallot puree over the top, with roasted red pepper coulis and caraway carrots. There’s no issue whatsoever with the beef slices, the shallot puree tastes plunges deep into the back of the mouth whilst the carrots and red pepper coulis freshen everything up – it’s a great combination.
The Chargrilled Octopus gave me the chance to learn a lesson from my lovely wife – apparently in all the years I’ve been eating Octopus I’ve been favouring the way it’s not supposed to be cooked. Octopus should be tender, almost like braised chicken or pulled pork, but I’m in love with it when it’s served chunky and chewy almost like chorizo.
Aqua’s version is my preferred way, so you could argue that it’s not cooked correctly, but I loved it, but mind you, I love Pot Noodles. The crunchy capers and sun-dried tomatoes that accompany the tasty tentacle treat are out of this world and the fava beans don’t need any chianti or sounds effects from Mr Lecter.
I’m actually surprised it’s not busier in Aquum but it has only just undergone a refurbishment and it is a Wednesday night. There certainly doesn’t seem to be more customers in any of the restaurant/nightclubs along the strip and the staff here are a darn sight better than the ones down the road. Yes, I’m talking about you, Lotus Bar, which I’ll deal with in another upcoming review. Until that’s published, my advice, is stay well clear of Lotus. YUCK.
Instead, go to Aquum and try out the menu. There’s three perfectly balanced sharing options for large groups that are a bargain and when you’ve finished the desserts are worth it, especially their chocolate based ones. A final shout out has to go to the seasoned Greek-style fries and if I’m in Clapham again this is where I’ll be heading.