The last time I stopped by Agua to try dishes with chef Jordi Valles, it involved blow-torched fish, blooming tendons and black truffle ice cream (see The Life Aguatic). This time around, he slow-cooked it down a notch. Like last time, I’m a guinea pig, not a food expert, and these are just my opinions. (Also, look for Fez, the rooftop bar above Agua, to soon reopen for Spring.)
My favorite dishes: the porcini carpaccio and slow-cooked pork belly. My least favorite: the portobello salad, given I’m not a big pesto fan and I found the dish served too cold. The tuna cannelloni falls somewhere in the middle, although I found it a bit messy: it might be fun to have this sushi-style, with a handful of individual cucumber-wrapped pieces. Anyway, these are thoughtful dishes made with quality ingredients, so try some — pork belly! chicken juice! — and judge for yourself.
By the way, a few other things to note re Agua:
The rooftop — Fez — should open around the end of the month, says manager Richard Pirsch.
Agua has set lunch menus, with two courses at rmb85 and three courses at rmb99.
Weekend brunch is from noon to 3 PM and includes five tapas, a main (example: oxtail and Parmesan risotto) and a dessert for rmb198. Upgrades are available: For example, you can add a cheese plate for rmb50.
No corkage on Sundays or Mondays. Up to six people per table, one bottle per person. Might be time to break out that 1992 Great Wall…
A Somewhat Steady China Hand on the Local Bar Scene