The Ninth may sound a bit bland. But when you learn the first was Le Gavroche, the fifth was the Square, and the sixth was Capital under Éric Chavot, suddenly the ninth is sounding a little more tasty, right?
With a career as distinguished as Jun Tanaka’s, you might expect his food to be fairly cheffy. But as The Ninth is the first restaurant he has actually owned, he’s free from any encumbrances; he’s making food exactly how he wants to.
Tanaka was one of the first Michelin-quality chefs to really embrace street food in London. Eight years ago, while he was executive chef at Pearl, he hired an Airstream, kitted it out with a high-grade kitchen, and served gourmet food on the go during the London Restaurant Festival. This was fresh thinking – two years before Street Feast had even begun, for example.
Although the fare at The Ninth could never be described as street food, the simplicity of some of the dishes and the sharing plates certainly reflects the ethos. That said, the starter snacks are so good you won’t want to share them. The scotch egg is a prime example: made with duck meat and foie gras, vivid orange yoke dripping down the crispy breadcrumb shell, it’s worth booking a table for this alone.
Cooked in seaweed butter and topped with crispy seaweed, the scallops were the nicest I’ve eaten on these shores
From the pasta section of the menu, the orecchiette with egg yolk and black truffle was a warming plate of earthly goodness. From the sea, our favourite was the scallops – served in their shells, cooked in seaweed butter and topped with crispy seaweed, they were the nicest I’ve eaten on these shores. Land and ocean combined best in the whole sea bass, served in a citrussy broth, with torn basil, fennel and fleshy tomatoes.
For the final round, make sure you order the pain perdu. This is essentially brioche that’s been soaked in crème Anglaise for 24 hours, then baked, glazed and scorched. It makes soufflé look like a sissy.
The restaurant may be called The Ninth but the food is a solid ten out of ten.
The Ninth, 22 Charlotte St, W1T 2NB; 020 3019 0880; theninthlondon.com