Fouronine has the feel of a speakeasy. You need to press a buzzer and give your name before gaining access, via a fire escape, on to a small landing-cum-garden. Perhaps this routine makes the place feel more dramatic and clandestine than it really is, but it’s lovely nonetheless, with a bare-brick aesthetic made edgy by urban-themed screen-prints on the walls, and comfortable by the plush banquette seating. The menu is small and changes frequently. We chose from half a dozen starters and mains. Italian and French influences predominate, with some further-flung flavours thrown into the mix, as in a main course of black bream with tapenade and imam bayildi, a Turkish aubergine dish. There’s a tendency to put several flavours into each dish, as in a starter of sautéed potato gnocchi with peas, broad beans, feta and cooked radish, but the combinations work. Cooking is equally assured for classics such as French-style country salad with mustard leaves, shredded duck and pancetta, topped with a perfectly cooked egg that oozed its yolk into the dressing. Desserts might include poached Yorkshire rhubarb with blood-orange sorbet, or Neal’s Yard cheeses for savoury-lovers. Service is professional and the pace unrushed, as you’d hope in such intimate surroundings.

Venue name: Fouronine
Address: 409 Clapham Road
Opening hours: Lunch served 12.30-4pm Sun. Dinner served 6-10.30pm daily.
Transport: Tube: Clapham North tube
Price: Main courses £16-£18.
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