As a general rule of thumb, I wouldn’t choose to dine at venues which are marketed more as a nightclub unless you want a night of culinary disappointment and a hefty bill in your pocket. However, as we all know there are exceptions to every rule and Aquum is firmly in the exceptions camp.
The decor has a retro-glam feel that reminds you of going out to a high-end club in a European city: it isn’t garish but it isn’t exactly subtle. In the main bar area as you enter there are rows upon rows of hanging crystal on the ceiling that shimmer in different colours as the lighting system changes. In their newly renovated restaurant area, they do have smart looking chairs with charcoal grey and petrol blue colours.
The venue is naturally very popular with locals who want to go dancing over the weekends especially with their Flirtatious Friday and Signature Saturday nights. On both nights they have a late 4am finish; even on the other nights, the earliest they close is 2am.
The restaurant is the real surprise package here; you might expect mundane traditional British food, but they offer a more exotic menu of mainly Greek and Mediterranean cuisines. They offer an excellent selection of homemade breads such as sourdough, focaccia and pitta bread along with homemade spreads like taramasalata, tzatziki and hummus.
Of the dishes we tried, the highlights were a buttery, smooth chicken liver parfait which was topped with metaxa and port. Metaxa is a Greek spirit which is one of the smoothest amber spirit you will find and is basically brandy blended with wine and flavourings. It was served on a crispy sourdough base.
You couldn’t leave a Greek restaurant without trying their octopus dish and their version is well-cooked so the meat never taste overly chewy. The dish is thoughtfully accompanied with fava beans, dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives and crunchy capers, rested on infused lemon and oregano olive oil. You might be in nightclub in Clapham but it will feel more like a Greek Taverna in Corfu.
Following their relaunch, they have a much stronger list of cocktails available, some of which are inspired by the Mediterranean to compliment their Greek cuisine. The cocktail list is well divided into sections which would be popular with their clientele such as remastered classics, mojito mash-ups and club class. We tried some welcoming Jack Daniels based cocktails such as honey and banana re-fashioned and Jack’s banana using their own banana infused Jack Daniels.