The Ninth is home to the cooking of Jun Tanaka, who was previously head chef at Pearl. Mr Tanaka trained at Chez Nico and The Capital and Les Saveurs, was a sous chef at The Oak Room and also The Square: a solid track record of kitchens. The Ninth reopened in March 2023 after a fire, so the décor was looking suitably new. It originally opened in November 2015.
The menu was a la carte, with snacks priced around £5 each, starters £16-23, pasta dishes at £22-£31, main courses at £27-46 and dessert at £13. The wine list had 80 labels and ranged in price from £38 to £350, with a median price of £62 and an average markup to retail price of 3.6 times, which would raise eyes even in Mayfair. Sample references were Domaine St Hilaire Vermentino, 2020 at £44 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £14, Albarino Valminor Rias Baixa 2021 at £64 compared to its retail price of £18, and Chateau Musar 2015 at £99 for a wine that will set you back £41 in the high street. For those with the means there was Rossj Bass 'Chardonnay' Gaja 2020 at £230 compared to its retail price of £62, and Antinori Tignanello 2018 at £350 for a wine whose current market value is £162.
Crab and seaweed tartlets were interesting, the sweetness of the crab contrasting quite well with the seaweed, while the pastry of the tartlets was well made. Crisp artichoke came with aioli of three-cornered leek, and this had good texture, the leek sauce going nicely with the artichoke. Osso buco croquettes rested on a little pool of tomato sauce. The braised veal shanks had plenty of flavour and the croquettes had a pleasantly crisp outside coating (canapes averaged a solid 14/20). Venison tartare was covered with thin slices of Jerusalem artichokes, and flavoured with sour plums. This dish was very successful, the venison having plenty of flavour and being nicely seasoned, the earthy flavour of the artichokes and the sharpness of the plums an excellent foil for the richness of the meat. The balance of this dish was spot on (16/20).
Langoustine ravioli had delicate pasta wrapped around good quality and carefully cooked Scottish langoustines (15/20). We also had a cheese course, a selection in good condition, served with a choice of either crackers or very good bread from E5 Bakehouse in London Fields. The citrus cheesecake and rhubarb was nicely made, the acidity of the citrus in the filling and the rhubarb to one side nicely balancing the richness of the cheesecake (15/20). Coffee was just basic Nespresso capsules.
Service was charming, the staff being friendly and attentive. The bill came to £221 per person, but that was with snacks and a cheese course and plenty of wine. If you ordered more carefully then a more typical cost per person might be around £120. The Ninth has an appealing menu, capable cooking and genuinely charming staff.Book