Lunch @ The Square
Posted 07 October 2009 - 05:56 AM
Posted 07 October 2009 - 06:35 PM
We just got back from a trip to London. Ate at Gavroche (lunch) and The Square (dinner a la carte). While Gavroche was good (I had the prix fixe supplemented with dishes from the carte), I preferred The Square, if only for the fact that service has a lot more personality and it is a more fun experience overall.
I've checked the Square menu online and it doesn't seem to have changed since I was there. If you are going a la carte, I can recommend the following:
Lasagne of dorset crab
Roast foie gras
Loin of West Country Lamb
Peach melba souffle (amazing stuff)
I would love to point out dishes that I disliked but every dish was a resounding success. Phil Howard (who was in the kitchen on the night) is such a skilled chef he could probably turn a dog turd into a gastronomic symphony.
The only criticism I have is that they load you with so many freebies and the portions are very generous, so I was gasping by the time coffee and petits fours came out (or it may have been the fact that I was at Hibiscus for lunch a few hours earlier). Nevertheless, it is very, very good and I think more than a match for Gavroche. Enjoy!
Posted 20 October 2009 - 04:59 AM
in due course. We were planning to have set lunch but ended up having a la carte. The website hasn't been updated with the new a la carte so please excuse some of the descriptions which might be a bit wanting.
We arrived around 12:45 for our 1.15 reservation, it was really quiet with just a few tables of quite a mixture of "types" - solo man, 2 tables of ladies who lunch, an old couple exchanging almost no words through whole meal, table of 5 banker types and us - young couple clearly celebrating something. Bread service consists of wholemeal triangles, baguettines and round raisin rolls with salted and unsalted butter on two glass dishes
Amuse bouche - Butternut squash puree, game jelly, foam topping (can't remember what cheese it was) complete with truffled puff pastry thin. Served in a shot glass in layers, the combination of flavours & textures was excellent. I don't usually enjoy butternut squash but this was great.
Starters - Crab lasagne with champagne foam & shellfish cappucino. Very flavoursome cappucino, not too rich and complemented the delicate crab without overpowering it. The champagne foam was nice but I felt it was a bit superfluous. Pasta was delicious with really vibrant pea flavour. Game consomme with scotch egg and foie gras "Croque MonsieurAnother rich but not heavy soup served with toasted sourdough, a tiny kilner jar of game rillette topped with port jelly. All the elements were delicious - the scotch egg had been particularly well prepared leaving the yolk still soft. A really fun dish - but even my husband (who can eat for England)struggled to finish it.
Mains - Roast Turbot with cauliflower, parmesan and almond salad, truffle'd cauliflower purée Cauliflower salad was a real high point of this dish with thinly mandolined cauliflower served warm. Also accompanying the dish were some warm jellied balls - as yet unidentified in flavour and a croquette. Really nice variety of textures and a very generous dish with plenty of puree to go with it.
Sweetbreads with spaetzle, trompette de morte mushrooms This was my husbands choice, can't remember the finer details but we fought over who would have it (we both adore sweetbreads) and he won. The spaetzle were good but I prefer mine with a slightly crispier finish. Sweetbread was, as expected, perfectly cooked. Again a very generously portioned dish
Cheese - This is where the one slight irritation of the meal came. The cheeseboard here is legendary and I was really looking forward to it (which was well justified as they were well kept and the accompaniments - grape chutney, golden raisin bread and the sweetest black grapes I have ever tasted). However when I am eating in a 2* restaurant I don't expect the waitress to come over and say "Not your average Red Leicester" and something else equally patronising along the lines of "i bet you've never seen anything like this before". I somehow suspect I've eaten in a lot more 2 & 3 stars than her and I have never had anyone make such a patronising comment - especially from a girl that looked about 15 years younger than me. I was really put out by this, particularly as I have served quite a lot of the cheeses on the board myself and would never have dreamt of saying that to a guest. Anyway, apart from that the cheese selection here is excellent and includes some unusual cheeses from Spain and Italy, not just the usual French selection. She made a good selection of cheese for husband.
to be continued...
Edited by Fibilou, 20 October 2009 - 05:07 AM.
Posted 20 October 2009 - 09:24 AM
Posted 20 October 2009 - 10:29 AM
Posted 17 April 2010 - 01:19 PM
After Thursdays lunch at The Ledbury I was really looking forward to lunch The Square on Friday. I have wanted to eat here for quite some time. I usually consider Phil Howard night when Northcote do their January food festival but one thing or another gets in the way and I donít go.
We ate amuses of watercress bavoir with scrambled egg and Jersey royal foam. A tasty little pot of good stuff.
Ravioli of Bresse pigeon with sweetcorn and morels.
Lasagne of Dorset crab with cappuccino of shellfish and Champagne foam.
I chose the lasagne. It was quite rich. The pasta was very good and there was plenty of crab. The seasoning was a touch heavy on the salt for me but all in all it is quite a nice plateful. I took this course from the full menu and it came with a £15 supplement.
The ravioli was possibly nicer than the lasagne. Again excellent pasta and a lot of tender pigeon both minced and chunks. The corn garnish (chosen presumably to reflect the food the bird ate?) added a little colour and moisture to the dish and a contrast to the earthy morels. The only problem with this dish was the absence of the earthy morels, which were substituted for another fungus. A bit odd, but not the end of the world.
Mains were both from the set menu and we chose
Fillet of cod with olive oil creamed potato new season artichokes and herbs.
Roast rump of veal with truffle spatzle white asparagus and parmesan.
The cod was the better of the two mains. More elegant and fresh in style and taste. The cod was of the variety that you struggle to get in the shops, in as much as it was as thick as your wrist. No bad thing. It was cooked to a crisp golden crust and just set through. Really good.
My rump of veal was not as impressive. The plating was a bit clumsy with the plentiful spatzle at the base of a bowl with the sliced veal sitting on top of a couple of spears of asparagus. It was a bit soupy. The individual components were mostly good. I think if the dish had been plated differently so that the elements were separated then I would have enjoyed it more. The spatzle was good at first but didnít have a massive truffle flavour and even became a bit dull due to the quantity. I suppose I would say that after trying a few different servings of spatzle that I donít really like the stuff. On the upside the meat and asparagus were good.
Desserts were Chocolate pave with grapefruit and vanilla and a plate of new season Alfonso mango with gingerbread lime and pannacotta.
The chocolate was excellent. It was a quivering slice of rich goo topped with more super glossy chocolate and a base of something along the lines of crushed ginger snaps but not. The grapefruit came as sorbet and balanced things out nicely.
The mango was by far the dish of the day. The dish comprised of a carpaccio topped with a couple of balls of sorbet, a scattering of diced gingerbread and quenelles of lime mousse and pannnacotta. The sorbet was brilliantly smooth and seemed to taste even more mangoey than the slices. I did ask a waiter how it had been made but he didnít know. My guess would be liquid nitrogen but I dont really care how it was made - it tasted remarkable. We demolished the chocolate plate first and saved this to end; it was a very high note to end on. It was among the best desserts I have eaten, really fresh and vibrant flavours and also very refreshing.
Service was good, in a very professional way. The restaurant was half empty / full depending on your perspective, a couple of biggish tables of sharp suited men and a sprinkling of couples lunching. I suppose there is no shortage of competition in the area. Everything considered, it was a bit of a mixed bag, but with more ups than down by a long way.
On reflection I would have to say The Ledbury was more to my taste. The style of the food and service was spot on and the price was better value for money, in my opinion. The Square was by no means bad but didnt quite hit the very high notes I was hoping for. It seems to me that sometimes when my expectations are very high it is easier to find fault.
Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:26 PM
I was tempted by the Pyrenean milk lamb on the alc and tasting menus but decided against that in the end and ordered the entire lunch menu instead.
For amuse came a really excellent fish soup with anchovy puff pastry stick. I have had similar recently in Helene Darroze and Marcus Wareing but this was the best. It was quite thin textured but deeply flavoured with a really spicy edge.
Starter one was Risotto Nero with Red Mullet and Gremolata. Good risotto, a tiny bite to the rice. A smallish fillet of mullet and a near invisible gremolata packing huge lemony flavour sat on the rice. The gremolata was used sparingly so it popped up every couple of mouthfuls and didnít totally dominate but did significantly enhance the dish. It was finished with a little oil.
Second starter was Ravioli of Guinea Fowl with Chanterelles, Cevennes Onions and Foie Gras. The pasta was very good, thin with a filling of mousse and meaty morsels. It had an additional slice of seared fowl sat on the ravioli which in turn sat on a stew of sweet onions and mushrooms. A couple of spoons of a good, dark, sharp sauce and some grated parmesan to finish it off. Another good plate.
First main was Sautť of John Dory with Crushed Butternut Squash, Beurre Noisette and pickled walnuts. The fish was very good, seared golden and garnished with trompettes de la morte. . I was less keen on the crushed squash. It was crushed. Not a smear, blob or slash. It had quite an earthy flavour and lumps of both squash and walnuts that I wasnít too keen on. I still ate most of it. It was far from terrible, just not entirely my cup of tea. I might have preferred a smear, blob or slash. It was a vivid plateful and although the least refined looking plate, still looked good. There was also a very good simple mixed leaf side salad served, it was dressed with a sharp vinaigrette and did go down well with the rich squash. I like John Dory a lot though so all in all happy.
Second main was Venison Wellington and Lincolnshire Hare with Beetroot Puree, Creamed Cabbage and Green Peppercorns; it was delicious. I really enjoyed everything on the plate. The venison wellington was good, good meat, nice pastry. The fillet of hare came sat on the beetroot puree. The creamed cabbage was almost the star on the plate. It came finely shredded, flecked with very flavoursome bacon and rich cream. Another good sauce and a scattering of green peppercorns completed things. I scoffed the lot.
We shared one of each dessert.
Blood Orange Tart came with chocolate ice cream. It was very good. The pastry was almost brittle. The tart had a caramelised sugar top and almost egg custard like smooth dark orange filling. Very good ice cream too.
Rum Baba with Crushed Apples and Prune and Armagnac Ice Cream finished things off. It was quite a substantial dish. One large but very light, very boozy baba came with a little custard, ice cream melting into the custard and cooked apples with a little spice.
I think I preferred the tart. It was lighter. The baba was good, perhaps just a little large.
It was busy. I think only one table wasnít taken. Service was formal. Not much chatting but relaxed more as time passed. Booze is quite expensive. I think there was a Spanish white for £25 but not much else at the low end of the price range. We drank pot luck Pinot Gris form New Zealand and a glass each of red from Italy that the sommelier advised. A very enjoyable lunch and I might manage the lamb on another occasion.