It’s so refreshing to visit a Michelin starred restaurant that doesn’t screech “look at me, look at me” like an annoying stage school kid. Chef owner Jun Tanaka is no stage school kid. He brings with him over 25 years of experience (even though he looks 25!) from 8 other restaurant kitchens, hence The Ninth. A small Michelin award plate adorns a mantlepiece on the staircase between two dining rooms which sums up The Ninth – it lets the food do the talking.
Located in Fitzrovia, the area is a hubbub of activity where you can while away afternoons enjoying shopping, luxury hotels, pizza and even a British cartoon museum. The restaurant has a very relaxed atmosphere with minimum fuss.
The French inspired menu is split into one word sections that actually mean something. No accoutrements or assiette translations required here. All dishes are made for sharing although they are so good that you won’t want to share with anyone. Work down the menu and try a little something from each section. Just in case you don’t read to the end of this, remember one thing: You MUST order Pain Perdu for dessert!
From the snacks, a simply described crispy pork belly was anything but simple. Each juicy morsel of crispy belly is delicately dipped in panko crumbs and sits on a sweet/sticky soy glaze with white cabbage. From the salads, burrata, pear, beetroot and hazelnuts not only looked pretty but combined so well in a marriage of creamy, caramelised, crisp and crunchy.
I don’t like the salt police. I was panic stricken when part way through dinner I realised there wasn’t any salt/pepper on any table and started psyching myself up to ask for seasoning. Panic was soon over as everything from Jun Tanaka’s kitchen was seasoned just so. It takes skill, confidence and a superior palate to season food so that flavours jump out and give you a satisfying kiss on the lips.
A small pasta list on a French style menu can only mean one thing – awesomeness. Tortellini that would make an Italian mamma proud are packed with rich venison and bone marrow. Another must try is orecchiette with morels and smooth egg yolk. The natural ear like shape of orecchiette scooped up every drop of moreish sauce.
A must order fish dish is a humble caramelised scallop surrounded by an umami complex seaweed butter with crisp sea weed shaped cavalo nero. The vegetarian section is full of well thought out and composed plates that are more than just after thought side dishes. A rare to find savoury beetroot tatin is beetroot heaven topped with fromage frais and pine nuts. This unique dish became one of our highlights.
Something that will always be on the dessert menu is a signature Pain Perdu. Brioche soaked in custard, milk and butter for a day then lightly fried. Crisp and buttery outside with a rich, creamy, custardy inside. A texture and taste paradise. Another must try is a delicate rosemary ice cream, which goes well with just about everything.
The Ninth is a restaurant where food takes centre stage and service is charmingly slick. This award winning establishment doesn’t shout about its accolades but instead gets on quietly with the important business of preparing delicious food with a focus firmly on flavour.
To discover more, visit: https://www.theninthlondon.com/