Agua is an upscale Spanish and Mediterranean restaurant in the trendy Santilun neighborhood in Beijing. Decorated in dark brown leather banquettes line the back wall, and roomy tables and plush velvet chairs occupy a spacious dining room that is elegantly lit.
The restaurant’s Infinity Brunch is 298 RMB per person and the optional 168 RMB unlimited drinks (options are cava, sangria, Spanish Mimosa, or wine). The brunch menu has a list of tapas that vary in sizing from single serving to sharing with another person and everything is cooked and/or plated to order.
We started with the boiled large prawns with tart-mayo foam that sort of gave me a déjà vu moment of my travels to Barcelona. Fresh, huge prawns that was sweet and didn’t really need that tart mayo foam, even though it worked.
The two trays we shared were the charcuterie and cheese platter and bread and pastries. Both were good but the charcuterie was the better of two. The sweet-spicy chorizo, three cheeses (a soft goat’s milk cheese and two semi-hard cheeses), sliver of pâté, and a small salad.
The seafood paella was flavorful and tasty but I miss the crispy socarrat parts that I personally adore when eating paella. The sweet shrimp on top was a nice touch. The homestyle chickpea and tuna salad looks a little monochrome with the browns but it tastes better than it looks. The tuna had good flavors of herbs and a touch of bright lemon, toned down with the chopped chickpeas.
For the brunch types who must have their fill of eggs, the beet root marinated Alaskan salmon egg benedict was beautifully done and tastes great. But our favorite dish (besides the suckling pig, which I’ll talk about soon) was the sunny side-up duck eggs with hash browns and housemade chorizo. The crispy, crunchy hash browns was a great contrast to the yolky duck eggs. The chorizo added a delicious smoky, porky bite.
My mother saw a couple of these dainty beef tenderloin “pepito” sandwich with mustard seed spread and beef jus sent out to various tables in the dining room and wanted one for herself. Despite of its smallness, this slider packs a flavorful punch. Beefy flavors and the mustard added a zing bite that really got our taste buds’ attention.
The carts carrying the crispy suckling pig (supplement $198 RMB) was rolling all over the dining room and is clearly the crowd favorite. The kitchen executes a perfectly golden half of a suckling pig set alongside a creamy apricot purée and cut table side. As we see the pig getting cut up in front of us, we hard the amazing sound of crackling, crunchy skin and the moist, almost creamy meat underneath that deeply caramelized exterior. A drizzle of jus is the ultimate accompaniment paired with crisp skin and melting fatty meat that is so tender, you will regret you had other dishes.
If you ever in the mood for mind blowing roast pork, Agua is the place to get it. Brunch was very satisfying and gave us moments of being transported to Spain.
To view more photos of this meal, please CLICK HERE or view the gallery below:[alpine-phototile-for-flickr src=”set” uid=”26389565@N00″ sid=”72157648039316332″ imgl=”flickr” shuffle=”1″ style=”gallery” row=”4″ grwidth=”1200″ grheight=”800″ size=”640″ num=”30″ shadow=”1″ border=”1″ align=”center” max=”100″]
Agua Restaurant Beijing
Nali Patio, Fourth floor
81 Sanlitun Lu
Tel: +86 10 5208 6188
Chinese address: 朝阳区三里屯路81号那里花园