The Ninth opened in November 2015, the first solo venture of chef Jun Tanaka, who previously was head chef at Pearl and trained under several famous chefs including Nico Ladenis and Marco Pierre White. The Ninth was awarded a Michelin star in the 2017 guide, an award that it has retained ever since. The main dining room is on the ground floor, with a further room upstairs and a few tables on a terrace outside, a useful asset in these pandemic times. As well as the a la carte menu, there was a set lunch available at £29 for three courses.
Their wine list had 74 full size bottles and ranged in price from £26 to £320, with a median price of £62 and an average markup to retail price of 3.4 times, which would be very steep even by the standards of Mayfair, never mind Fitzrovia. Sample references were Domaine St Hilaire Vermentino 2018 at £35 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £10, Bodegas Altun Reserva 2013 at £59 compared to its retail price of £12, and Marsannay 'Grasses Têtes' Domaine Coillot 2015 at £96 for a wine that will set you back £36 in the high street. For those with the means there was Antinori Tignanello 2010 at £205 compared to its retail price of £139, and Château Leoville Barton 2006 at a hefty £320 for a wine whose current market value is £89.
Gougeres were neatly piped and had good choux pastry with a Beaufort cheese filling and a topping of truffle. Even better were excellent oxtail croquettes with crisp exterior and deep flavour. These rested on a horseradish and watercress mayonnaise that went well with the rich flavour of the meat, the bite of the horseradish complementing the richness of the meat (16/20). There was also very good sourdough bread from Flourish bakery, served with very good Bordier butter.
Flame-grilled mackerel came with capers, cucumber and sea purslane. The mackerel tasted fresh and the briny vinegar bite of the capers nicely cut through the inherent oiliness of the fish (15/20). I also sampled my dining companion’s very pleasant conchiglie pasta dish with egg yolk and winter truffles from Australia. Ravioli of langoustines came with Sicilian Datterinin tomatoes and broad beans. The pasta had excellent texture and the natural sweet flavour of the langoustine filling came through well, nicely balanced by the tender beans and high quality tomatoes (15/20).
For dessert, pain perdu was a comforting dish, with crisp exterior and custardy bread inside, served with good vanilla ice cream. This was a simple but satisfying dish (easily 14/20). Coffee was basic Nespresso from a capsule at £3.50, with no petit fours. Service was very good, and the bill came to £75 per person with just a glass of wine. If you shared a modest bottle of wine then a typical cost per head might be more like £85 or so. Overall the Ninth has an appealing menu and accurate cooking, with nice staff and a good location. Some things such as the wine list and coffee could be improved, but this was certainly a very enjoyable meal.Book
Further reviews: 15th Jan 2016