Address: 6-10 Bruton Street, W1J 6PU
Telephone: +44 (0)20 7495 7100
”Impeccable” would be the word that I use to sum up Philip Howard’s Mayfair restaurant, The Square. This Michelin two-starred culinary venture, which opened in 1991, serves contemporary French cuisine, and from the assured service to its spacious, opulent decor, it is apparent that this restaurant is set to offer nothing short of a dignified, enchanting dining experience.
K, L, E and I came for lunch on a Saturday, and we were thoroughly impressed with the airiness of the restaurant, the widely spaced tables and the fine sense of decorum that the restaurant displayed. Set lunch is priced at £35 for 3 courses, and set dinner at £80 for 3 courses, which is expected from a restaurant of such pedigree, with its many awards and accolades.
Our amuse-bouche was a creamy and delicious velouté, with a hint of parsley and garlic taste. As with all dishes at The Square, this amuse-bouche was simple, neat and precise.
(1) For appetiser, I had this Crushed New Season’s Jersey Royals with Dorset Crab, Razor Clams, Samphire and Herbs. The flavours of the Jersey Royal potatoes and the fresh, delicious Dorset Crab combined marvellously, and the Samphire(which is a sea vegetable that grows on shorelines) and herbs brought fresh and remarkable flavours to this otherwise mellow dish.
(2) Another accomplished appetiser was the Warm Salad of Spring Chicken. The spring chicken was tender and succulent; the accompanying cauliflower, artichokes and salsify added a refreshing note to the dish, while the Parmesan powderfurther enhanced the dish’s complex flavours.
(3) I adored the main course, Fillet of Pollock with Smoked Shallot and Bacon Gnocchi, Braised Lettuce and a Veloute of Ham. The Fillet of Pollock was exquisite and sensuous, having been expertly fried and meticulously matched with other compatible ingredients, and the bacon gnocchi had a magnificent texture. It is absolutely impressive how each dish at The Squarewas layered with so many different textures and flavours.
(4) The Ravioli of Oxtail with Shaved Flank, Peppered Fillet and Root Vegetables was another divine main course. The ravioli was delicately thin, and the oxtail was bursting with flavours. The shaved flank and peppered fillet had an alluring, fiery taste and a fantastic, meaty texture. It was, however, the red wine jus, which was the star of this dish, and it magically accentuated the flavours of each and every ingredient. (If you like thin ravioli, see my review on Mirror (Hong Kong) for their lobster ravioli).
(5) Moving on to the long-awaited desserts, I had this Chocolate Fondant with Hazelnut and Orange Ice Cream. The chocolate fondant was delectable, and was coated in a thick, warm chocolate sauce. The orange ice cream was bright and invigorating, and one could really feel the dedication and care with which this dessert has been prepared.
(6) The Lemon Tart with Lime Ice Cream, Grapefruit and Vanilla, on the other hand, was a much lighter dessert. The lemon tart had a smooth, inviting texture, and the lime ice creamadded a citrus tang but still enabled the tart to keep its character – it was delightful!
When K, L, E and I went to The Square, we were in a rush to finish lunch so that we could head to French Sole to buy a few pairs of ballet flats. It slipped my mind why we had to rush, since the shop wasn’t on sale or anything, but what I do remember is that when the waiter put this decadent tray of nougatsin front of us, we instantaneously forgot about the shoes! The nougats were so sweet and lovely, we just had to take some time to sit back and indulge in them.
Conclusion: The food was complex and delicious, the menu was imaginative and inspiring, and everything was accurate and flawless. I don’t really have any criticism on the restaurant; it is perhaps only the business-like nature of the meal and the slightly impersonal experience that is stopping The Square from becoming one of my favourite restaurants in London.