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The Square, London


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Hi,

I went to the Square for lunch last week.

This was my second visit after a poor first one this August. On that occasion, a Bank Holiday, both Chef and sous-chef was out.

This time Howard was in and it was great. Food was delicious, not a bad dish in the bunch. Service, good first time, better this; fyi, the manager is excellent.

Favourite dish: Very hard to choose!

Probably, Ravioli of Calves Tail with Crushed Cauliflower and Chanterelles, White Truffles from Alba; but

Roast Isles of Orkney Scallops with New Season’s Perigord Truffle Purée, Ecrasé of Butternut Squash, Chestnuts and Velouté of Cepes, is not far behind.

My Lunch at the Square

Although a serious let down before, it is now one of my favourites. I was very impressed.

A generous restaurant serving 'refined comfort food'.

Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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I have had some really great food at The Square, some of the best in London; it is most definitely one of the best!!

But does the first visit highlight inconsistencies that shouldn’t happen at 2/3 star level??

Hi,

I went to the Square for lunch last week.

This was my second visit after a poor first one this August. On that occasion, a Bank Holiday, both Chef and sous-chef was out.

This time Howard was in and it was great. Food was delicious, not a bad dish in the bunch. Service, good first time, better this; fyi, the manager is excellent.

Favourite dish: Very hard to choose!

Probably, Ravioli of Calves Tail with Crushed Cauliflower and Chanterelles, White Truffles from Alba; but

Roast Isles of Orkney Scallops with New Season’s Perigord Truffle Purée, Ecrasé of Butternut Squash, Chestnuts and Velouté of Cepes, is not far behind.

My Lunch at the Square

Although a serious let down before, it is now one of my favourites. I was very impressed.

A generous restaurant serving 'refined comfort food'.

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A restaurant should be consistent, especially at that level, indeed.

But, as mentioned, Howard and sous-chef Westin were both away the first time. And the meal was not disastrous; there was only one real error in execution. It was just not as good an experience as expected.

There is an argument to be made that if #1 and #2 in the kitchen are absent, then maybe mistakes can be made (and forgiven), however, on the other hand, it is not as if customers get a discount in this sort of scenario!

Personally, I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, chefs are only human too! I guess...

Edited by Food Snob (log)

Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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There is an argument to be made that if #1 and #2 in the kitchen are absent, then maybe mistakes can be made (and forgiven), however, on the other hand, it is not as if customers get a discount in this sort of scenario!

Erm shouldn't the point be that #1 and #2 shouldn't both be absent. After all isn't that the whole point of having a capable #2???

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Another photo based addition to this thread (although from a meal in June). More can be found in this photoset.

My impressions:

The visit to The Square was what I would traditionally associate with a fine dining restaurant – it was both classic and European. From the modern and clean lines, neutral colour palette, open and bright space, courteous and bow-tied (!!so cute!!) waitstaff, every moment of my meal in this business (and male) centric lunch spot (I wonder how it is at night) was pleasant. The staff were friendly, knowledgeable, and professional, well versed with the menu (it's always refreshing to find restaurants where the servers know the menu inside and out – something that I noticed at most of the restaurants I've visited in Europe) and were very open and honest with menu suggestions. Let me rephrase, open, honest and diplomatic with suggestions. I will not forget this the next time the word "classic" is used to describe a dish, it might mean, as I discovered with the Brillat-Savarin cheesecake, good but pedestrian. Besides the accommodating and attentive nature of the staff (i.e. the direction of the cheese cart towards my camera's lens), I was even impressed with the bussers whom I observed taking meticulous care in performing their duties. Food wise, presentation was clean and refined. Ingredients used were top notch. Although I didn't stray from the conservative classics to try more adventurous fare, I don't think that it can be argued that the food, service, and ambiance of chef and co-owner Philip Howard could be labeled as safe, classic, modern and appealing. It was and is a lovely spot for business meetings, or more formal (i.e. meeting the in laws) types of gatherings, but I would consider it a little cold for visits of a personal nature.

And now... the food. :P

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Warm Salad of Guinea Fowl with Violet Artichokes, Grilled Spring Onions, Girolles, Pea Shoots and Almonds

2619227530_1e69c02df7.jpg

Sauté of Scottish Langoustine Tails with Parmesan Gnocchi and an Emulsion of Potato and Truffles (£5.00 Supplement)

2618408793_00848a47d8.jpg

Slow Cooked Icelandic Cod with Crushed New Potatoes, Langoustine Claws, Parsley and Lemon

2618411169_30a27e0063.jpg

Herb Crusted Saddle of Lamb with Shallot Purée, Rosemary and Garlic

One word: Gorgeous. Description: like butter.

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Brillat-Savarin Cheesecake with Strawberry, Elderflower and Champagne

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  • 2 months later...

Had a very good lunch on Wednesday here. Amazing were the langoustines, of divine quality, cooked to perfection and with some very, very good accompaniments. On the same level was the Brillat Savarin cheesecake, which one can hardly find any better.

Notable also was the high standard of the lunch menu, nearly as good as the alc.

more on the blog, with pics.

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  • 3 months later...

INteresting to see that no one has reported on, what I consider one of the best restaurants in London, since I went last time.

My dinner here last weekend was pretty much perfect, with one slip (a very sweet dessert). Products were very good overall, execution faultless and the cooking gets more and more interesting. I really liked the fact that Howard seems to get more British dishes on the menu. I saw coronation chicken, a version of lamb with mint sauce and Eton Mess (they are all here, with exception of the chicken). If he manages to further increase the amount of such dishes, I think that we could be in for a 3rd star some time (if Ramsay has one, why not here?).

The other big advantage of the place is the fantastically cheap wine list. Some of the wines are less than double retail price, which I rarely have come across anywhere else. This is great as it makes you enjoy yourself without necessarily having to sell the house.

Overall, this is a very solid restaurant, that never fails to deliver top notch food and has great service.

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