Eat&Drink | Hotels&Lifestyle

Q&A with head chef of Aqua Nueva: Mateo Leiva

Elevate your culinary knowledge with an exclusive Q&A featuring Mateo Leiva

About Mateo, head chef at Aqua Nueva 

Mateo Leiva, Executive Chef at Aqua Nueva, was born into a family with a rich culinary heritage. His passion for cooking was ignited at a young age while growing up and working in kitchens across Spain. A career highlight includes his four-year tenure under the esteemed chef-mentor, Jordi Cruz, at Barcelona’s prestigious three Michelin-starred ABaC.

Mateo has left a lasting impression at Aqua Nueva with his contemporary take on Spanish cuisine. His new menu draws inspiration from his Spanish roots and the vibrant tapestry of flavours that define his homeland, with a focus on crafting tantalising new dishes, particularly from the regions of Catalunya and Andalusia.


What’s the inspiration behind your new menu at Aqua Nueva? 

It’s to give the traditions our own proper touch and always use ingredients of the season. 

What are you most excited for guests to try? 

We have several dishes that may surprise; our version of the Catalan duck and the Hamachi with the red mojo are some of the dishes in the new menu that go out of the riginalls but with their traditional flavour. 

What do you love most about Spanish cuisine? 

Is difficult say just one thing...but for me the most important ingredient is the olive oil. It’s one of the most important bases in all Spanish kitchens. 

For a taste of home, what are your must-order dishes? 

One of the dishes that I eat most at home is an omelette with tomato bread. It’s a favourite dinner in my house and both are on the menu. 

If you're with a date or someone you want to impress, what would you recommend from the menu? 

It’s very difficult to say one...but for me, the whole fish cooked with salt is a traditional plate, but the flavour is very fresh and easy to eat at a special dinner. 

How long have you lived in London? 

Now just one year, but I'm really loving the city, mixed a lot of the different cultures... It’s a city with a lot the opportunities for young people. 

What attracted you to working at Aqua Nueva on Regent Street? 

It is a great company that bets on chefs, and with many possibilities to grow professionally. 

Aside from Aqua Nueva, where else would you recommend on Regent Street? 

To me, it doesn’t get much better than Aqua Nueva...but the Albert Adrià cheesecake at Cakes & Bubbles is delicious. 


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