Restaurant Review: Four Degree, One St George Wharf in Vauxhall, London
Is this Vauxhall hot-spot a bunch of fake news, or the real deal? Nick Constance probes the facts
Located at the foot of London’s tallest residential building, (Vauxhall Tower) the newly-opened Four Degree is a “contemporary Japanese restaurant with a modern European twist”.
With 2 restaurants already successfully running in Beijing and Hong Kong, they decided to break into the London market. Four Degree, is actually a reference to the optimum temperature for Oysters to live in. Who Knew?
Specialising in fresh seafood and delicate cocktails, it’s also home to the UK’s first Macallan Whisky lounge. The Macallan distillery is a single malt whisky distillery in the village of Craigellachie, in Scotland.
There’s also a central bar where you can grab a stool and hunker down for a spot of people watching. Cocktails with alluring names such as Whiskey Rinjin, Mai Taiko and Kinpaku are the order of the day.
What’s for dinner?
I’m plagued with indecision in my life. I can’t even figure out what to order in a restaurant and Four Degree hasn’t made it any easier.
Heading up the kitchen is chef Kyoichi Kai, formerly of Zuma and Kyubi at The Arts Club, in Soho. He has fashioned a menu merging Japanese and French specialities, such as foie gras teriyaki and grilled Wagyu Sirloin with Ponzu sauce.
Now and Zen
As is typical of the region, all our appetisers were served at once. We began with a classic Miso soup, followed by “nibbles and smalls” of Chicken Kara-age (deep fried marinated chicken with lemon) and warm mushroom and truffle salad, respectively.
My dining partner, Heeju, is from Seoul and we agreed the food was super-fresh and wonderfully cooked. Heeju was my referee, for the night, with red and yellow cards at the ready.
The food is light, rather than heavily masked with gloopy sauces. I was properly gobsmacked by the Sashimi Koyama…a lip-tingling platter of O-toro, yellow tail, salmon, scallop and tuna. Also textbook was my main course of a rich and flavoursome Seabass, which fell apart beautifully at the slightest prod of my fork.
The menu itself is probably more extensive than it needs to be, but I guess this is what happens when you merge 2 continents, food-wise.
There was also the warmth of service. We were greeted by very friendly staff and were looked after extremely well by our waiter, Gregorio, who walked us through the menu, explaining everything as it arrived – perhaps too well, in fact.
Mind you, it was rather quiet on our visit, so this would explain his over-attentiveness. “Yes, we’re fine thanks”.
This isn’t a problem as, once word has spread, Four Degree will undoubtedly see its water-front terrace rammed with eager foodies…especially when visitors of the new American embassy get wind of the place.
The space is cavernous and pimped up with a display of edgy and playful artwork, mainly by Ying Zhao Bartakian, a.k.a. Chloe.
It’s probably one of the best meals I’ve eaten in recent years. In fact, Four Degree is officially my new favourite ‘Asian-inspired’ restaurant in London.
The waiters are well-drilled, the décor is a mix of blingy glam and urban chic and the food is great across the board.
At the end of our meal, nobody raised an eyebrow when we asked for a doggy bag to take home 2 ridiculously good puddings. Cute touch. OMG, I almost forgot, they have live music every Thursday – Saturday night.
Whether it’s a post-work chowdown, meeting friends, or a special occasion, get your arse down to Vauxhall. On our visit, there wasn’t one duff dish the whole night.
Address: 2C St George Wharf, London SW8 2LE