409 Clapham Road
020 7737 0722
Date of Last Visit: Friday, 29 February 2008
Victims: Bryan, Stacey
Damage: £10 and two Hot Chip tickets. I'm serious.
The Background: We have tickets for Hot Chip at the Brixton Academy. And the show doesn't start until 11:30! Are they crazy? Apparently so. But it doesn't bother us because it's an excuse for a leisurely dinner somewhere. I do some Google map searches for restaurants that are relatively in the vicinity and/or easy to get to, and I come across Fouronine, a quick tube jaunt away. (With a change at Stockwell, but an easy change.)
The Entrance: I've never been to Clapham before. I know. What type of person am I? Remember I never told you I wasn't lazy. I imagine Clapham to be a cheerful and friendly, where everyone pushes a pram and has a cockerspaniel. There are no prams to be seen. And I'm a little weirded out by all the police warning signs around about burglars and car thieves. This is not the Clapham of my imagination. (Fouronine is at Clapham North tube. Maybe Clapham North is dodgier? You tell me.)
Anyhow, to enter Fouronine (conveniently located right across from the tube), you ring a bell and head up a dark and cold and wet staircase. Very speak-easy-ish. I'm liking it already. We're greeted at the door, our coats are taken, and we're shown to our table in the modern and slightly Scandinavian dining room.
Tap Water Test: Passed. Arrived instantaneously, as soon as we mentioned tap water. They had it ready there on the counter. And it was a whole big jug.
Non-alcoholic beverages: Passed. With flying colors. Didn't bat an eye when I asked for a recommendation. A mojito made with apple juice was so amazingly good. I kept adding water to the glass to make it last and I wouldn't let them take the dregs away from me.
Starters: Smoked haddock salad with new potatoes. Lovely. Very fresh and light. Beets, which I'm eating more of these days because they are, after all, good for you. Even though I still think they're sorta gross.
Bread: Lovely, and lots of it.
Main: Crisp fillet of sea bass with olive oil mash, grilled courgette and gremol. Amazing. Really. I wanted a second serving.
Pudding: Hot chocolate and walnut brownie with vanilla ice-cream. Basic, but just right.
Toilets: Co-ed! Now that's exciting. I think I scared some poor gentleman out of his wits.
Service: Really great at first. One noticed that Bryan still had more foie gras left but no toast. She brought him more bread. That was observant and good. But we felt a little deserted after our mains arrived.
Bummers: Mains were pricey. £17. Seems like a lot for a restaurant that's surrounded by signs warning burglars and car thieves that they're being watched.
The Verdict: Very, very very good. Could be even better if they could do something about the pesky thievery signs and if they can keep their service attentive all night long. Oh, and I think they're getting away with bloody murder by charging what they're charging. In Clapham.