Flavour of the Week: The Ninth
This week, we get stuck into pickled mussels, barbajuans and rosemary ice cream at Jun Tanaka's The Ninth, his first restaurant as chef-patron
What's the draw
Jun Tanaka cut his cheffing teeth with an apprenticeship at Le Gavroche before rising through the ranks in eight top-notch kitchens, eventually becoming executive chef at Holborn's Pearl. This is his first restaurant that's all his own, though (hence the name), with French-Mediterranean-style sharing plates and deconstructed, brick-and-metal interiors.
What to drink
We wet our whistle with the house cocktail – a refreshing concoction of Hendrick's, elderflower, lemon and apple juice – before getting acquainted with the extensive wine list. There's something to cater for all budgets, from a light, crisp 2014 sauvignon blanc from the Les Fleurs de Montblanc winery in, er, Montblanc to a 2012 corton-charlemagne grand cru from Charles Van Canneyt – clearly showing Tanaka's love of all things French.
What to eat
OK, so we'll admit we went a bit overboard, but it was all in the name of research, alright? Here's the low-down: barbajuans (empanada-style parcels of spinach, ricotta and pine nuts) and oxtail croquettes were delicious little teasers of the feast to come; pickled mussels and razor clam ceviche were fresh and perky, making it clear why Tanaka's so well known for his raw and cured dishes; salted beef cheeks and buttery lemon sole showcased his skill at updating the classics. The hands-down winner, though, was the beetroot tarte tatin, which was so good we even got the recipe. An apple tart rounded things off very nicely indeed – and was worth it for the accompanying rosemary ice cream alone.
Dinner and drinks for two, about £80; theninthlondon.com.