REVIEW: Aqua, South End, Croydon
There is no greater feeling for a true meat eater than a great slab of beef on a plate flame grilled to perfection.
Steak Night, almost a national obsession in America, is often a hit and miss affair in the UK with overcooked and badly seasoned pieces of meat offered as a poor excuse.
Not so, however, at Aqua - South End brasserie of distinction - down in Croydon's new Restaurant Quarter.
It has a Monday night offer with all steaks at half price, so if you are a fancier of fillet, a sucker for sirloin or a rump regular this is the ideal opportunity to chow down on some cow.
The stylish brasserie always has a lively atmosphere and I have never been in without the restaurant being busy.
We ordered marinated mushrooms with goats cheese and caramelised onions from the set menu and the fritto misto selection of seafood (£6.95) for starters.
The fritto misto plate was piled high with deep fried whitebait, shell on prawns, mussels, and calamari without a trace of greasiness and the mushrooms were wonderfully cheesy.
Our choice of steak was wide with a classic sirloin, rib eye or fillet, or the veal rump all coming in at under a tenner due to the special offer. All the beef is aged 28 days and charcoal grilled I opted for the veal rump; a thin cut beautifully seasoned and tender cut with great flavours served with forest mushrooms, roasted new potatoes and pesto jus - an absolute bargain at £7.
My guest opted for the classic fillet (£10.25). This big fist sized chunk of meat was cooked rare and sliced with no effort whatsoever. Served with decadent creamy mash, spinach and a Diane sauce, each mouthful was a delight and, with such carnivorous treats, it was hard to imagine what life as a vegetarian must be like.
We had a bottle of sauvignon blanc (£20.50) to buck the trend that steak has to be accompanied by red wine and its strong flavours worked perfectly with the grilled meats.
The plates of food are substantial and we barely had room to stuff down a pot au chocolat and a tiramisu (both £4.95) but somehow we soldiered on.
Since two chefs, Dasos Charalambous and Dario Nardo opened the Bar and Grill it has gone from strength to strength and deserves its reputation of serving great food at affordable prices.
33-35 South End East Croydon, Croydon CR0 1BE
020 8667 0070