“Location, location, location!” Just like when you’re buying a new home, one of the most important factors to consider when opening a restaurant is the ‘where’. In the eatery packed streets of London, the most innocuous of locational mistakes – such as being on the wrong side of a street or not having sufficient frontage – has lead to the cruel demise of many a quality restaurant. One of the few exceptions to the rule appears to be four o nine – a restaurant that offers nothing more than a small plaque on the side of an anonymous Clapham street as the only indication of its existence.
Once you have found said secret door, you are invited to walk up a narrow staircase into what one would expect is someone’s home. Instead, you are met with a New York loft style venue, with relaxed lighting, simple décor and a buzzing atmosphere. The vibe is no doubt further enlivened by some great cocktails; in particular, the Chocolate Martini we finished our meal with was absolutely legendary, providing what can best be described as a Cadbury’s Flake in a glass.
The menu at four o nine concentrates on simple modern European dishes using top seasonal produce with the occasional interesting twist. For example, the starter of Pigeon breast with black pudding & lambs tongue lettuce was inspiringly accompanied by raspberries, whilst the Grilled squid was classically served with chickpeas, fennel & lemon. Mains included Pan fried wild bream with crab, lemon & brown shrimp butter that again had a clever touch of an entire roasted wet garlic bulb; and a simple yet delicious Crisp chicken breast with spring greens, tiger prawns & roast cherry tomatoes. Desserts keep things fairly conventional with things like Chocolate fondants and Pear and almond tarts.
four o nine is one of those places that provides a real feel-good factor about dining with them and its secret location only adds to the satisfaction of finding such a little gem.
Cuisine type: Modern European
Dinner for two (excluding drinks): £70
four o nine
409 Clapham Road (entrance on Landor Road)
Tel: 0207 7370722