What? For some the draw to Four Degree will be the fact that it is the UK’s first Macallan Whisky lounge, for others it will be its Japanese/modern European cuisine and for others, the art exhibits.
New? Yes, it opened at the end of last year
Where? With views out on to the Thames, you’ll find Four Degree at 2C St George Wharf, SW8 2LE, www.fourdegree.co.uk
The Look: The bar takes centre stage at Four Degree, with striking glass pendants hanging over it and Japanese statues adorning it. Mink grey, velvet chairs and muted grey walls let the bright modern art do the talking. Tucked away is an open kitchen, with a handful of spaces so you can sit at the counter. The large, open mezzanine space is where you’ll find the Macallan Whisky lounge, unlike most dark whisky lounges, this is spacious and bright.
On the Menu: Heading up the kitchen is Kyoichi Kai (formerly Zuma and Kyubi at The Arts Club) who has created a menu that brings together French and Japanese cuisine. Dishes include chicken kara-age (deep fried marinated chicken with lemon); seaweed salad with miso dressing; braised pork belly with soy sauce, sake and mirin with pak choi; soft shell crab roll; squid sashimi and crispy wonton tacos with duck rillettes, fish tartar and guacamole. Pudding here goes challenges the reputation of Asian restaurants not faring so well, with the likes of chocolate mousse with maraschino cherries; banana miso and chocolate fondant on the menu.
What We Ate: We certainly didn’t hold back with the menu, ordering from each section. From the nibbles we went for deep fried camembert with lobster bisque, which was surprisingly big, I was expecting as a nibble it would be just a mouthful, but we actually got four sizeable pieces, it would suffice as starter. Continuing with deep fried food we went for deep fried oysters coated with breadcrumbs and dipped in tartar sauce. From the small section we went for baby spare ribs with sansho pepper, you know how good, good takeaway ribs are? That’s what Four Degree have achieved, albeit not full of preservatives and whatever else you find in your local takeaway; they’re succulent, sweet and very good.
Beef carpaccio was served with a truffle emulsion, peppery rocket and plenty of parmesan and you’ll also find truffle in the warm mushroom salad which includes black truffle shitake, eringi, shimeji, champignons de paris and shallots. At £76 for 100g you have to be sure that you like wagyu beef, that said it is A5 wagyu sirloin with ponzu sauce, if you can afford it though then it’s well worth it. The flaky, grilled black cod with miso paste, soy and sake is a must.
For pudding, it had to be the coconut parfait, a coconut rocher filled with yoghurt sauce, lemon curd, crunchy coconut and white chocolate. Beautifully presented the sphere of coconut was just waiting to be cracked out to let the sauce out. Except when I cut into it, there was no sauce. Ah. Never mind we thought, we’d try the coconut parfait my friend order. No sauce there either – at least it was consistent. We were brought out two more, which did have sauce. it was delicious, creamy and had just enough tart lemon curd.
What We Drank: The drinks menu isn’t just any drinks menu, oh no, this one is takes on Four Degree’s interpretation of the concept of time and is divided into past, present and future, with each one inspired by Asian culture and Buddhism philosophy. Deep. I went for the King Lou – described as a drink for the kings, it blends Maker’s Mark with pecan bitters, sake aperitivo, egg white, yuzu juice and peaty whiskey. It’s smoky but with a slightly sweet hit.
Go With: With a slick finish in muted greys and its Macallan Whisky lounge, its ideal for business dinners and hosting clients from out of town.
Final Word: We visited on a quiet Tuesday night and yet service was rather slow, well we say rather, we mean very. Our cocktails took so long to arrive that we were pretty sure we had been forgotten about and then one sip into our drinks, our waitress arrived back to ask if we wanted wine – we were thirsty, but we weren’t quite at the point of downing our cocktails.
Four Degree: 2C St George Wharf, SW8 2LE