Aquum is a late night bar and restaurant that can be found amongst the carnival-like party that is Clapham High Street. As I entered Aquum I knew this would be different from past nights out in Clapham – dinner drinks and then clubbing, and all in one venue, an interesting prospect in Clapham.
Being a restaurant bar and club, Aquum is set up in a way that ensures the transition between these differing functions is as time-efficient as possible. The seating surrounding the main bar area is used for dining in the day and evening, but evolves into private bookable seating areas with bottle service, as the club side of Aquum emerges. Tables that once filled the heart of the dining area are removed to create a spacious dance floor. There is another smaller room that acts as a dining area in the evening and all out dancefloor at night, and a private dining / VIP area. The whole feel is more akin to a Mayfair club than one generally found in South London. There is also a street-side terrace, great for alfresco dining, that makes a handy smoking area when the club opens.
The Atmosphere and Clientele
Though a night at Aquum experiences two rather different stages, the atmosphere in the main room maintains a lively vibe. The music played during your meal can also pass as club music but manages to shy away from becoming intrusive – it also creates a somewhat intimate atmosphere as the sound of surrounding tables is cancelled out. Aquum reaches out to a younger and livelier crowd, the later it gets, but it is clear that anyone of any age could enjoy themselves.
The Food and Drink
First of all, every single cocktail was perfectly made, the staff were friendly and service is quick, but the real winner is the food. Every dish we tried was brilliantly cooked, great portions and delivered in a constant and consistent flow. Aquum follows a relaxed tapas style Thai menu with more substantial but still delicious portions available. Unmissable dishes include – Thai Style Calamari (£6.50), Pandan Chicken (£6), Pork Dumplings (£5.50) and the Roast Duck (£12).
I don’t visit Clapham very often but whenever I do, there would have to be a very good reason for me to eat or drink anywhere else. I enjoyed all aspects of Aquum; there were great cocktails, incredible food, a friendly crowd, slick staff and a great party vibe. Overall, a top night at a very enjoyable venue, highly recommended.