I used to watch Chef Jun Tanaka consistently beating other chefs on a TV show called Chopped I used to watch when we lived in the US. What is better than brainless but entertaining television with chefs cooking dishes based on the oddest ingredients and combinations? Plus, my friend Chef Jet Tila made several appearances as a judge which made it even more interesting. When Chef Tanaka opened The Ninth Restaurant in London, I wanted to go and finally check out his real-life cooking skills.
I had been exchanging messages with Angie Silver who writes the http://www.silverspoonlondon.co.uk/ blog and we decided that The Ninth London would be a good choice for a healthy mid-week lunch (we both had lots of eating events that week). We had been trying to meet for ages as we both enjoy great food and fantastic hotels, but I had to cancel the previous time as I had no voice, sadly not from partying but from a boring cold.
What we ate:
Razor clam ceviche: this dish was surprisingly beautiful and flavourful and extremely fresh and light. Razor clams can be nastily chewy but this was cold, tender and citrusy and paired perfectly with the cubed tomatoes and samphire.
Sea bass carpaccio, salsa verde and pickled kohlrabi: this dish looked gorgeous, but the carpaccio was drowning in the salsa verde and the overall dish lacked seasoning.
Whole roast sea bream, lemon and miso, smoked aubergine: this was by far the best dish as the fish was perfectly cooked and very flaky and juicy. My only complaint is that it was a bit bony but sadly no crazy scientist has been able to create a boneless fish yet. I also enjoyed how mild the miso rub was and how it paired well with the lemon notes. The smoked aubergine was a tad mushy for my taste.
Jerusalem artichokes: a simple dish of nicely braised Jerusalem artichokes. I prefer non-Jerusalem artichokes but these species were nicely prepared, in a healthy dose of butter which always adds some yumminess.
In sum: the fish was tasty but nothing about the meal or the setting or the food wowed me enough to make me book a return visit. Maybe dinner would be buzzier and their dinner menu also has more options but I am still not swayed.
22 Charlotte St, London W1T 2NB
+44 20 3019 0880