20 August 2012

The Square, London

We celebrated our anniversary at The Square in Mayfair, London. The Square is the restaurant of Phil Howard, and well established with an excellent reputation. Large tables in a spacious well appointed room awaited us.

We started with rather good bread, brown for my wife and raisin and walnut for me. The amuse bouche was a mozzarella ball, chilli and pepper oil, biscuit, the mozarella was lovely, and complimented by the intense oil and a pastry of I believe olive and mushroom.

After much deliberation, the menu being packed with great sounding starters, I chose the Tasting of Cornish Mackerel with Oysters and Caviar, which was the Great British Menu Winner in their 2012 season.  The first element came under an impressive dome of hickory smoke. An oyster topped with caviar resting on an English muffin. The oyster was fine, salty with caviar and juice, which was balanced out by the sweet mackerel below, with a perfectly light muffin providing a delicious mouthful.

The second plate was a rich, creamy veloutte of mackerel, a wonderfully fresh parcel of raw mackerel topped with a breaded fried oyster, and roasted mackerel on a bed of cucumber with a spherified caviar. The last element was cooked to perfection, and balanced really nicely with the cucumber and caviar.  It was great to try one of the dishes I've seen on the Great British Menu, each element an absolute pleasure and I'm glad I picked it over the lobster or scallops, dishes I will have to save for another visit!

My wife had a starter of gnocchi, mushroom, onion, the gnocchi being more like fluffy potato cakes and went exceedingly well with the mushroom, seaweed and some crispy shallot rings.

My main was the Breast of Grouse with Turnip and Celeriac and a Croustillant of the Leg with Onion and Pancetta.  I've not had grouse before, and it was served was pink, and delicately flavoured, and a pleasure I will wish to repeat. The croustilliant  was stuffed with the leg and was rich and intense. The celeriac and white onion puree's were creamy and well flavoured, and went perfectly with the grouse and leg. One breast was served on a buttery carrot and turnip mash, the other on a lovely piece of cabbage.

My wife's main was Aubergine, piperade, coco beans. She enjoyed it, but it was quite a small portion, and eclipsed by the starter and dessert.

For my dessert I had the Soup of White Peach with Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream. A bowl of mysterious gel spheres, peach and ice cream were presented, and the soup poured on. The spheres were a puree of peach and a liquid cream made using spherification which burst in the mouth. The peach was beautifully flavoured, as was the intense and alcoholic peach soup, the raspberry ripple providing a creamy counter note to the peach.  I adored the spheres, the fun they added,  and how they worked with the soup and peaches, and every part of the dessert was perfectly done. This has to be one of the best summer desserts anywhere.

My wife had the Apricot and Vanilla SoufflĂ© with Camomile Ice Cream. Rising to the sky, an enormous souffle was presented and the waiter then added the ice cream and poured in an apricot sauce.  Fantastic in both execution and flavour, it provided a perfect finish to her lunch.

Nougat came with coffee and was a fine example of its kind, pretty as a picture too.

The bill came to about 300, and included a glass of rose champagne to start, 2 glasses of wine for my wife, and a few bottles of water.  I really enjoyed the meal at The Square, especially the theatrics of the starter and the spherified dessert. Surroundings and service were first rate too.

The Square

Square on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

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