dines at the Square...

I adore the Square - the staff are warm but the service impeccable; the food excellent; and I'm assured of a good evening. I haven't written about the Square before, but conscious of my posts on poorer experiences recently, I really wanted to share the restaurants I love.  It was lovely to return to familiar surroundings, to see Cesar the charming manager, and Reynaud, the sommelier.

The room itself is spacious, with well placed tables, and walls hung with artwork.  The tables are always beautifully laid, and you're offered a lovely selection of warm bread on arrival.  I tried the raisin bread - good crust and crumb, and very good aroma.

Your drinks chosen, the beautifully presented amuse arrive in three parts.  A squid ink gougère filled with soured cream alongside a salt-cod beignet; some squid-ink rice crackers with taramasalata; and a tiny cornetto of foie gras mousse in a crisp shell, topped with hazelnuts.  The flavours are zingy and strong but fitting - with your aperitif, they have enough flavour to hold your appetite whilst you peruse the menu. 

And that choice is especially difficult - there were so many delicious things I would have happily ordered. On the specials menu was a new dish Cesar wanted us to try: sautéed Scottish langoustine tails with barbecued pork ribs, grapefruit, lardo di Colonnata, honey and soy.  A tender cube of pork (not overly fatty either), grapefruit confit, delicate pieces of plump barely cooked langoustine, beautifully succulent leeks and the whole dish topped with two delicate shallot rings.  The grapefruit provides a sweet and sour counterpoint to the pork, and lingers cleanly on the palate.  Light and delicate, yet very satisfying, it's a lovely addition.

For our actual starters the Hubby and I had both chosen the lasagne of Dorset and Alaskan crab.  With a cappuccino of shellfish and champagne foam,  I'm furious to say that this looked so amazing I'd completely forgotten to take a picture until I'd finished the dish!  A delicate and creamy soup is plated with tiny circular disks of verdant parslane pasta, sandwiched with luscious crab.  The whole dish is then topped with the champagne foam.  I ate mine in layers, revealing each perfect stack in turn.  The dish is light, delicate and effortless to eat.  I shall need to return for the opportunity to photograph it again.

I'd mentioned to Cesar that I was going to have the foie gras, until I'd spotted the lasagne, and he kindly brought us some to try.  A variation on one of their most popular dishes, the pan fried foie gras is served with new season rhubarb and burnt orange purée.  The syrupy raisin purée is contrasted by the sharp rhubarb one, and the foie gras is topped with jewell-like raisins, puffed rice and tiny shards of honeycomb.  The foie melts on your tongue, while the flavours dance around it.  The honeycomb offers a sweet crunchy contrast to the soaked raisins.

After an appropriate gap, we moved to the roast fillet of turbot with celeriac milk purée, winter truffle, parmesan and hazelnuts.  I love the meaty texture of turbot, and here it was perfectly and expertly cooked.  On a bed of cabbage and celeriac, texture was added via a coating of roasted hazelnuts.  The Parmesan delicately stated its presence too, without overpowering the flavour of the dish.

As is so often the case, we never made it to desserts, but the team made sure we finished our meal on a sweet high: the petit fours included a blackcurrant jelly, a tiny rolled passion fruit cake, a grapefruit confit, pineapple poached in hibiscus, and a ball of apple poached in cider. There were also salted caramel truffles - the crisp shell gave way to melting chocolate - and the salt very much a secondary flavour on the palate.

Many food bloggers and journalists think that fine dining is over, others that the steak and the burger reign supreme.  Now, I'm as partial as the next gal to a good lobster burger, but there are times when a really good shellfish dish calls, and when you'd rather sit in a comfortable room drinking Puligny Montrachet.  I rather suspect that the stuffy restaurants they refer to lack the warmth and charm of the Square.  But ultimately with restaurants of this calibre, it's only by returning several times that you develop this level of engagement with the front of house - it's not something you can always develop when reviewing on an isolated basis.  The Square remains on speed-dial, and I look forward to returning there soon.

10 Bruton Street
London W1J 6PU

Square on Urbanspoon

---- Starters ----

Winter Minestrone with Snails, Turnip Oil
and Smoked Bone Marrow Crostini

Lasagne of Dorset Crab and Alaskan Crab with a Cappuccino
of Shellfish and Champagne Foam (£10.00 Supplement)

Tasting of Cornish Mackerel with Native Oysters and Caviar

Terrine of Chicken, Foie Gras and Truffle with 
Madeira Jelly, Jerusalem Artichokes and Leeks

Slow Cooked Truffled Egg with Baked Celeriac, 
Garnish Paysanne, Wagyu Ham and Red Wine

Salad of Cornish Skate, Smoked Eel and Mussels with a
Red Wine, Anchovy and Garlic Dressing

Cured Fillet of Aged Beef with Tête de Moine, Tardivo, 
Grilled Potatoes, Scorched Onion and Truffle

Sauté of Scottish Langoustine Tails with Barbecued Pork Ribs,
Grapefruit, Lardo di Colonnata, Honey and Soy

---- Main Course ----
Roast Fillet of Zander with Pot Roasted Root Vegetables,
Lentil Purée and Pheasant Juices

Roast Fillet of Turbot with Celeriac Milk Purée,
Winter Truffle, Parmesan and Hazelnuts

Ragout of Doversole, Scallops and Oysters with Sea Kale,
Leeks and Chives

Fillet of Red Mullet with Pumpkin Gnocchi, Chanterelles,
Salsify and Parmesan

Roast Saddle of Hare with Port Glazed Endive and a
Tarte Fine of Celeriac and Pear

Sauté of Calves Sweetbreads with Scorched Onion,
Mimolette, cauliflower and Almonds

Daube of Ox Cheek with Creamed Potato, Smoked Onions
and Winter Vegetables

Assiette of Pyrenean Lamb with Ewes Curd Ravioli, New Season’s
Olive Oil, Pine Nuts and Raisins

---- Desserts ----

(£10.00 Supplement, 
£15.00 As An Extra Course)


Warm Roasted Pear with a Praline Macaroon 
and Sherry Vinegar Ice Cream 

Brillat-Savarin Cheesecake with Passionfruit and Lime

Crème Caramel with Candied Winter Fruit and 
Warm Seville Orange Brioche Roulade

Banana Soufflé with Rum and Raisin Ice Cream

New Season’s Yorkshire Rhubarb, Mascarpone 
Jellies with Rhubarb Juice and Sauternes

Bitter Chocolate Pavé, Mascarpone and Burnt Orange

A Selection of Sorbets