If you’re a follower of my blog you’ll know that I head out for dinner in Milton Keynes fairly often. I like to mix things up a little and so where possible I try to head to new restaurants and pubs to see what I’ve been missing out on all these years.
These days it seems like a new restaurant pops up every week in the city, so with so many places to choose from it’s often a bit of a challenge settling on somewhere. With a bit of a craving for Italian food however I figured that Aqua in The Hub would be a good choice for a meal out and so headed there just before Christmas to see what the fuss was all about.
Founded in Bristol in 1998, they now have 6 restaurants across the UK (Bristol x2, Bath, Portishead, Lewes and Milton Keynes). Aqua is clearly growing in popularity, offering a beautiful setting and great tasting food which is reflected on their website where they describe themselves as:
“the home of modern Italian cuisine where our menus are thoughtfully tailored to meet our guests’ tastes and expectations. Our aim is to ensure that you have a memorable experience, with impeccable service and great food.”
It certainly sounded great so I was really hoping that the meal would live up to my expectations.
First things first, getting dressed up for dinner. For the evening I went with some Wrangler Texas Stretch jeans, a checked Red Herring shirt from Debenhams and some simple black loafers from Topman. To accompany that, my beautiful wife…
On arrival at Aqua we were shown to our table and offered a Sparkling Bellini on their 2 for 1 cocktails offer – although not something I would usually order at a bar, it tasted great!
Our waiter came over to serve us very quickly and was really likeable. It’s always nice when your waiter knows how to get the balance right by getting to know you a little and not slowing down the service or intruding on your evening by talking too much. Ours got this balance perfect.
Looking through the menu at the time (now updated so you won’t see these on the current version), the starters sounded amazing. There were so many great things to choose from and so the issue of taking too long to choose set in! What we opted for however was by all accounts, perfect and was presented beautifully with Sarah opting for risotto balls…
I on the other hand went with some prawns in a tomato and garlic sauce, accompanied by bruschetta and it was not only delicious but also presented incredibly well.
With starters complete we moved on to our mains. Although it didn’t look like the most appealing meal in the world, Sarah’s chicken main tasted incredible with some really deep and fruity flavours coming through. Hard to tell from the photo however this consisted of chicken, with vegetables & potatoes with a tomato & mascarpone sauce.
For my main I kept things a little simpler and went with the roasted lamb which was served with spring onion mash potato, whole roasted garlic cloves & a red wine jus. It was perfectly cooked and the accompanying red wine jus was excellent.
After about 10 seconds deliberating over whether or not to get a dessert, the right decision was made and we got our orders placed.
Sarah decided to go for a dark chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream. It’s a safe option in restaurants as these things are usually pretty hard to make taste bad – this one certainly tasted great!
I on the other hand thought I’d trying something different off the menu and opted for a
Chocolate & Hazelnut Torte which from the homemade italian cakes section, by Emelia Schiavetta. I accompanied this with a coffee and it was literally to die for. Amazing.
Did I mention I got a tiny coffee? I’m still not sure there’s a manly way to drink something this small – the pointy pinky finger helps though, right?
A great meal, excellently presented
My overall experience at Aqua was an extremely positive one as not only was the service superb but the food tasted great and looked great. The atmosphere in the restaurant was nice too, not being too quiet or too loud – just right, somewhere in the middle, where you could easily hold a conversation without having to raise your voice.
If you’re heading to The Hub in Milton Keynes this year and are looking for a place to eat that isn’t a large chain and serves high quality, flavoursome food, Aqua would definitely be at the top of my list from the various Italian restaurants I’ve eaten at (if however a chain is somewhere you’re looking for, take a look at my review of Turtle Bay in the Hub which I also visited recently).
I had an excellent experience at Aqua and I’m sure you would too, go check it out. 10/10.
Useful information about Aqua, Milton Keynes
*Restaurant images in this post are credited to Aqua