16 Aug The Story So Far
Not many people would think of opening a new restaurant in the midst of a pandemic, but for the Ward Giles family the lockdown presented an unmissable opportunity to do something together.
The result of months of behind the scenes work is Nine Restaurant and Bar – a chic venue offering a unique style and class of food in the area that combines classic French inspiration with modern English techniques and flavour and texture combinations.
Sharon Ward Giles and her daughter Izzy are the co-founders, with Sharon’s husband Dan – a classically trained chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant in France – sharing kitchen duties with Sharon, and their five other children all making telling contributions to the look, feel, menu, design and ambiance of Wareham’s newest restaurant.
From eldest daughter Ella, who has been in charge of visual side of the Nine project (from menu design to painting the Kraken in the stylish loos), to youngest daughter Felicity (who inspired and created the S’Mores dessert), everything you see, touch or taste has the imprint of one or more members of the family.
In terms of hours worked, family friend Nick Northover is up there with Sharon and Dan, having put in hundreds of hours over lockdown to restoring the kitchen and interior of Nine to their current glory. His sheer work and creative input has made a massive contribution to the Nine Project. Using materials sourced by Sharon and son Thomas, Nick repurposed materials from bricks, copper pipework, corrugated iron and scaffold boards to create the tables, wall coverings, the bar and loos; he even did the upholstering of the bench seats.
Sharon’s other sons, Charlie and Harry provided essential IT support as well as help with fonts for the menu, which was designed by Ella. The inspiration for the font came from a business that once occupied the Nine West Street site – E H Robins Fishmongers and Poulterers. It is the original metal letters from that business’s sign that make the sign outside the restaurant.
Like Nine’s food, the interior and exterior design combine a respectful nod to the past, with a stylish modern interpretation. With elements as diverse as an old home-made chopper style bike, old pallets and oddments from Nick’s personal workshop and Thomas’s Steampunk inspired miscellany of fascinating objects, as well as mirrors that Charlie brought back from France, Nine is a visual feast before the gustatory one to come. As an example of the attention to detail, Sharon bought new scaffold boards, which she then swapped with more characterful used boards with a scaffolding company.
Knowing that they would be opening in a world dealing with social distancing, the layout of the restaurant is more spacious than a restaurant opened before lockdown would be.