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Unexpected fun in Four O Nine restaurant Clapham, Honey and Venom Tooting and The Landor

Before we became parents, every Saturday night, it seemed, was a magical mystery tour. Where would we drink? What would we eat? Who would we end up talking rubbish to in a quiet corner of a public house. And, of course, what would I wear?

Nowadays, those impromptu adventures don’t happen all that often. Hardly ever, in fact. Nights out must be planned well ahead, childcare must be booked and paid for and the evening will usually involve a birthday, a leaving do or some nuptials – in other words, we’re usually on someone else’s lovely adventure, rather than our own.

But last night, Mr. Fashion Detective surprised me with the news that we had overnight childcare in the bag – and no plans whatsoever. Armed with my new Toptable App and wearing my brand new H! by Henry Holland doggie print skirt (there are poodles on it!) we set off on a cocktail-tastic and culinary feast of an evening…

Honey & Venom (where Smoke used to be) at Tooting Bec was our first point of call – the refurbished bar is looking very swish, the outside area at the rear much-improved – and the Key Lime Pie cocktail is an instant classic
After a quick Red Bull in The Clapham North (loud, full of the young) we went on to The Landor in Clapham North, a v. interesting pub and theatre with an Alice in Wonderland theme indoors and a spectacular beer garden outside
The Jeremiah Weed sour mash beer had to be tried – it tastes like Jim Beam and lemonade. Delicious (and note the v cool glass jar – which did NOT end up in my handbag, much as I was tempted)
Brewed with Bourbon “borne of long tradition from the hills of eastern Kentucky and East Tennessee” natch
Another bar, another drink – note my Zara Taylor corpse bride cameo pendant going strong, there
Now for the main event: We’d never even heard of Four O Nine (above the Clapham North pub). Thanks to the Toptable app we were about to get a very big treat – and how “New York” does it look on a freezing January night??
To get into the restaurant you have to ring a buzzer (loving that) and once through that door, enter through a fire escape: It all adds to an air of secrecy about the place
Inside the restaurant it’s very chic, hip and intimate. Think more Greenwich Village, NYC – less opposite the flats at Clapham North tube
Any menu that suggests a “porn star martini” to start with is immediately winning with me – and the chef’s tasters were divine (spoons with mozzarella, truffle oil and pine nuts, tiny rye breads with duck breast and grape)
Geddit in there, girl
A glass of pink fizz made for the perfect accompaniment to my meal: Cornish crab and smoked salmon timbale with dill and cucumber pickle & salted lavosh to start, Hereford Poll sirloin steak with green peppercorn & port butter and anchoide dressed leaves with a side of gratin dauphinoise for main, and warm apple and nut baklava with local honey & greek yoghurt sorbet (aka heaven in a scoop) to finish. Seriously, readers, the best food I have ever had round these parts – even better than Chez Bruce, if that gives my fellow South Londoners more of an idea
Cheers indeed
Here’s a to a brilliant night – we’re considering the private dining room for a special celebration on the horizon, so look out Four O Nine, we will return….

If I’ve made you hungry, check out the four o nine website – and get your table booked!

Written by Johanna Payton