Sunday, 15 November 2009

Skylon is still a fun place

I first went to Skylon in May 2007 as it opened with the refurbished Royal Festival Hall courtesy Allies and Morrison. While I have been back quite a few times for cocktails and drinks at the bar, I have not had a proper dinner there for a while until last night.

The restaurant is still nicely laid out alongside the bar (in the centre) and brasserie (opposite end) in this vast space. It still offers one of the best river views in London. The menu continues to offer Modern British fare. My sweetbread has a nice texture sitting alongside a fresh bed of salad.

Food and Drinks IMG_0618
My entrecote (shared with my fellow dining companion) was
beautifully done - nice salted crust on the outside, tender and
succulent inside. The service was  attentive without being
over-bearing. Four of the six of us ordered Baked Alaska - think meringue encasing the tri-colour ice cream served with a Grand Marnier flame. All was consumed with much enthusiasm.



Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Aqua Kyoto trying to do sophisticated Japanese

It was about a fortnight ago when I tried out Aqua Nueva which was at one end of this entertainment complex: last night I went to the Japanese end Aqua Kyoto. Unlike that Saturday lunch time when it was a haven of tranquility, Aqua Kyoto on a Tuesday night was a happening place (with the aid of the Elle promotional event in the booked-out Aqua Nueva).

My friend and I sat down and ordered a variety of dishes so to sample the breadth and depth of the staff's culinary skills. Their aqua kyoto tataki sushi mori awase (pictured below) was a concoction of chopped fatty tuna, foie gras, salmon, crab and other luxury ingredients wrapped in cucumber - they were delightful in texture and taste.

Food and Drinks IMG_0040

Other notable dishes were the seared beef tataki with chili ponzu which was flavourful, tempura of okra and prawns were crunchy and cooked to perfection, eel teriyaki was rich though it should have been served on a bed of Japanese short grain rice. 

Food and Drinks IMG_0044 

So Aqua Kyoto has a lot going for it - location, location, location, swanky decor, and a glitzy crowd for now. But there is room for improvement. The menu, though varied and interesting, was hard work and it would have been so much easier if they offered an omakase so the guests could spend less time reading and more time enjoying. The sushi counter, though well laid out, had some unfortunate plastic click-click food containers which were frankly an eyesore - get rid of them please!



Sunday, 8 November 2009

The triple bill opened with Tread Softly set to Gustav Mahler's arrangement of Schubert's String Quartet in D minor. The choreography was wonderfully fluid yet structured. The movements also had a acrobatic quality to it that was breathtaking. Sadly the final 3 minutes was interrupted by a power cut which the company had to re-start at a climatic point.




The second item was the much loved Carnival of the Animals (Saint-Saëns). Rather than recreating the "animals", the dancers expressed animal movements in a fun and human way. The cuckoo was particularly cute. The penultimate number, The Swan, was done with much elegance and grace yet without pretending to be a swan. The kids must have loved it in the afternoon matinee.

Julian Anderson wrote the music for the last item in the programme - titled The Comedy of Change. The work opened with silence as the larvae were hatching (the dancers were encased in cocoons), followed by a primordial sound world. The whole dance was a lot of fun to watch - lots of randomness. All in all a fun (hence the title) work to experience.