The Square

DSC01474
The Square is a no nonsense name for a two Michelin star restaurant and indicative of the restaurant’s approach. From the moment you walk into the unadorned dining room featuring various shades of beige, it is clear that the emphasis here is on the food.
 
MTV boyfriend and I head to The Square on a Saturday night and the atmosphere is hushed and almost reverent. We decide to put ourselves in the hands of the Head chef, Philip Howard, and order the degustation menu with matched wines at an eye watering £150 each. For this price you get the best service that I have ever experienced at a restaurant. We have our own sommelier who discusses each of the seven wines that we are served with us while an army of waiters ensure that each of our copious courses is presented perfectly.
Game consommé
 
The wine is a real highlight, but interestingly in a French restaurant there is not a single French wine on the degustation menu, rather the wines hail from wineries in rather less well known wine regions such as Santorini in Greece and Batthyany Hungary. Our sommelier tells us that the aim is to showcase a variety of wines.
 
First off the rank is the amuse bouche featuring a selection of delights including anchovy and Parmesan crisps and the a small pastry cornetto filled with foie gras that is so decadently rich that it almost tastes like a creamy dessert rather than a savoury appetiser. Then the menu proper begins with a gutsy game consommé which is served in a fluted white pot. It is accompanied by the most elegant scotch egg that you have ever seen along with a piece of toast topped with bacon mousseline.
 
Next up, crisp Scottish langoustine tails with fluffy parmesan gnocchi and just a hint of truffle. Then there is more foie gras, this time roasted and served with endive confit and semi dried pineapple. This was probably the only course that disappointed me as the bitterness of the endive confit overpowered the sweet pineapple and rich foie gras.
 
The flavours are milder in the turbot fillet which is a case of white on white as the fish is served with a creamy truffled cauliflower puree. It is the next course of grouse which is the most memorable of the evening. A breast of grouse is served with crushed root vegetables and sweet elderberries. The flavours are vibrant and robust and with one bite you almost feel like you have been transported to a Scottish moor.

Petit fours
 
In the French style the cheese course is served before desserts so a “tasting of Barkham blue cheese” arrives next. It is fabulously stinky but I must admit to some slight disappointment that we do not get to sample more from the legendary cheese trolley at The Square. I suppose if we had done that we would not have been able to squeeze in the quivering block of red currant cheesecake which is cut through with a sharp blackcurrant sorbet.
 
To finish, we enjoy the theatre of the peach melba souffle where our waiter pours a jug of hot berry puree and creme anglais into the towering, fluffy souffle. It is all I can do to squeeze in a bite of the petit fours served in a hedgehog style arrangement. I am incredibly full but that is beside the point as eating at The Square is as much a feast for your eyes and an exercise for your brain as it is a way to fill your stomach.
 
Head chef, Phillip Howard was featured on Masterchef last week where he stressed that, to him, flavour is more important than presentation. Still, there is no denying that this is beautiful food served with style. The degustation menu at The Square is an expensive undertaking but you are left in no doubt as to what the money has been spent on.
 
Essentials
Details: 6-10 Bruton Street, Mayfair W1J 6PU (Ph 020 7495 7100) Tube: Bond Street
Damage: Budget breaking
9/10
 
Links
If you liked this you might be interested in Michelin star French dining at a less astronomical price from The Ledbury or for French food on a tight budget try Bloody French.

Square on Urbanspoon

9 comments

  1. Never been to The Square but have never read a bad word about it. At £150 a head it would have to be a special occasion meal, but it sounds like it’s well worth paying that bit extra for the degustation menu

  2. I’m not surprised the service was so good given its sibling relationship to the Ledbury. I am, however, glad to hear the food was very good too and I’ll look forward to giving it a try!

  3. I’m so keen to go now that I’ve seen your review and heard such good things about it from Cheese and Biscuits Chris. I’m drooling over those petit fours!

  4. Was this the chef who was very precise, and cut his vegetables with a ruler?

    The food looks amazing (not to mention the presentation!), I must definitely put it down on my list of restaurants to go to! 🙂

  5. The Peach Melba souffle sounds amazing! I won’t be able to rest until I have one…!

  6. If only they sold those mini scotch eggs in packs of 24 for 99p like they do at Tesco!

    I’ll have to wait for my next milestone birthday until I can be this extravagant. Only another 9 years.

  7. I remember seeing The Square on Masterchef and thought it looked great (except for the cutting vegetables with a ruler! Yes, I think it was this place breadetbutter) – so glad to hear you had such an excellent meal.

    My wish list just got longer!

  8. It all sounds wonderful. Anywhere that serves scotch eggs is alright in my book. And that incredible pud is pretty special too. I’ll save some pennies.

  9. Boo – It was amazing I have to say – I agree, only for a very special occasion!

    An American in London – this was like Ledbury Service on speed – just up that extra notch. Very impressive. I think the actual dining room at the Ledbury is nicer though and more atmospheric.

    Su-Lin – would highly recommend.

    Bread et Butter – I think it was the ruler episode… those perfectly cubed vegetables did taste good though.

    Greedy Diva – that was a real highlight especially for MTV who had never seen a souffle “finished” at the table before

    Funthyme – I think there is a set menu option at least at lunchtime for a more reasonable price if you want to sample the Square sometime before the milestone.

    LexEat – I agree it adds to a restaurant a bit if you see the work that has gone into it behind the scenes.

    Browners – lots of pennies…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *