The Square is one of the select restaurants in London to have retained two Michelin stars for a substantial length of time. With a fabulously reasonable weekday lunch menu, £30 for two courses or £35 for three, this culinary experience is now more accessible for the average foodie. No-one should miss out on food of this standard.
The restaurant must be doing well to remain comfortable in such a pricey location. The Square sits on Bruton Street, just off New Bond Street, blissfully (or dangerously) near to the top luxury shops. There were four of us on our visit to the Square, all food lovers, eager to try.
The restaurant is very light, which is definitely preferable for dining; I always like to be able to see what I’m eating. Set out clearly in an open plan room, the decor is plain and inoffensive. When we were seated, just after 1pm the restaurant was relatively empty with just a few business lunches going on around us, making the ambience feel more corporate than intimate. The waiter was attentive and brought us freshly baked bread from the oven (all made on the premises) with our glasses of bubbly. Note to butter lovers – salted AND unsalted butter were brought to the table!
Wine arrived, a Provencal Rose, of the prettiest pale peach shade: it was one of the best glasses of wine I have ever tasted. We all opted for the set lunch menu, cleverly designed with nicely contrasting choices. Everyone chose three courses except for me. I only had two to avoid overfilling and therefore under-enjoying, and anyhow food always tastes better when ‘borrowed’ from another’s plate. Before the starters arrived we were treated to a tiny shot glass of foie gras with raisin and parmesan foam. Once I’d forgotten it was foie gras I managed to really enjoy this entree, a delicate mousse with a deep flavour.
Tuesday 25th January 2011
Tartare of Aged Beef Fillet with Truffle and Pickled Mushrooms
Sea Kale and lobster claws
Fillet of Cod with Crushed Root Vegetables,
and a Vinaigrette of Cockles, Clams and Winkles
Coq au Vin with Creamed Potato and Glazed Carrots
Chocolate Fondant with Milk Ice Cream
Walnut parfait with poached spiced pear
(£10.00 Supplement or £15.00 as an extra course)
The dishes were presented in a no fuss fashion - none of that splattering of sauces that can often make high quality food look naff. As a non fish eater I didn’t try any of those options but was assured by my companions that both fish courses were ‘delish’. Coq au Vin is a classic dish that I often avoid in restaurants, bullying myself that it is too boring a choice. On this occasion I tried it, and it was far from dull. The perfect portion of chicken with a deep red sauce that was so scrumptious I was very tempted to lick my plate. The silkiest creamed potatoes made an ideal accompaniment and the veg were deliciously cooked too.
Pudding wasn’t AS good as the main, but it was still good enough to finish and want more. I preferred the chocolate fondant that was light and airy with the gooiest of middles. The walnut parfait was a comforting dessert with warm and spicy flavours. The extra fresh pastry on the side was a sweet touch. Much to my delight our coffees came with a generous portion of mini pistachio nougats, chewy and sweet, dusted lightly with icing sugar. On seeing the plate cleared, the kind waiter brought along a second plate, which he sweetly packaged in miniature square takeaway boxes when we couldn’t finish them all.
I really admire a top notch restaurant that avoids stuffiness, and in this respect the Square achieved top marks. The service was impeccable but very discreet, which I definitely appreciated – I cannot bear it when the main course is disturbed constantly with enquiries about whether everything is okay. My friend visited the Square for her birthday supper a few nights ago and it was interesting to compare our experiences. Dinner costs £80 for three courses, which seems like a grand step up from £35 for lunch, but when I heard about her meal it sounded 100% worth the extra pennies! I felt strong food envy particularly hearing about the complimentary little chocolate lollipops they were given at the end of their meal.
Careful attention to detail and exquisite individual touches make the Square truly outstanding in its field. With unfaltering service and such delectable food, I now understand why the Square is consistently rated one of London’s finest dining experiences.
Book your meal at The Square here.