London’s newest neighbourhood opened with plenty of noisy fanfare, but in Evernight, Nine Elms has a destination restaurant that is quietly going about its business, delivering truly outstanding contemporary Japanese cooking.
An unassuming chalkboard outside reads ‘sharing plates, skewers, select wines and sakes’ and that - though accurate - doesn’t remotely tell the story of the genius at play inside. The sleek dining room is made up of pale timber counters and tables, whilst ridged wood panels streak across the ceiling, weaving between a series of translucent cuboid lampshades. It’s lowkey, but still elegant and sophisticated - a nice change from the capital’s more Insta-bait interiors.
We nabbed a seat at the counter and got stuck into crisp, juicy morsels of chicken karaage, fat oysters with tosazu (a light bonito dressing) and a sweetbread curry katsu bun that was every bit as good as it sounds.
The struggle at Evernight may well be working out what to order - among the starters and fish-based dishes alone, there’s enough good stuff for a whole meal. In the latter you’ll find a rich, fatty, umami bowl of smoked eel, chawanmushi (a Japanese steamed egg custard) and pumpkin miso, which is easily one of the best things we’ve eaten all year. We advise you to save room, because all the skewers are must orders (the grilled beef tongue with black garlic and burnt apple is exceptional), and as we sipped on a glass of ‘Dreamy Clouds’ sake, we considered whether Evernight might be in the very highest echelons of London's restaurant stratosphere.
After all that, you still have to find room for a big claypot of rice and aged beef rib - chiselling away the crisp rice from its outer edges is a worthy labour of love. And what better than a miso creme caramel to finish, set with the perfect wobble.
Highly accomplished from start to finish, Evernight sets the bar phenomenally high for this sort of dining, and to do it with such understated elegance is all the more impressive. If you were looking for a reason to jump on that swanky new bit of the Northern Line, this is it.