Monday, December 12, 2011

The Square. Philip Howard

Dining in a good restaurant really does come down to three things.
Good Service, Good Food and drunkness. On this visit we had all three

A table was sucesfuly booked ridiculously late on a Tuesday for 4 bods on a Friday night.
We even got a good time slot 8:30. Some would say a bit late for a tasting menu
But I prefer it as you don't feel the need to go out after and spend £££££££ in some
Hotel bar full of prostitutes

Reception was warm on a cold cold night and we were shown to a great table in the centre
Of the room. Decor is understated, a bit like the Fat Duck. Wood floor white walls
And comfy chairs. Bright modern art adorns the walls and there are blinds at the windows
To keep the rif raf from staring at your bubbly.

Canapés came, sqid ink beignets ,salt cod mini fish cake things and a remarkable
foie gras Cornett 7/10

First on the tasting menu was Tartare of smoked venison with pickled mushrooms.
It came to the table in an egg shaped coup. The lid lifted and out poured the smoke,
Very nicely done. The lid lifter swooshing the top part of the egg to puff the smoke
Directly up the nose. Great smokey flavour to the venison.
The pickled mushrooms were the Star being tiny and full of pickled flavour. 7/10

Next up was Roast Orkney scallop with ceps truffle and cauliflower. Half a huge scallop
Was served atop a cauliflower purée with tiny bits of the fungus in a light butter sauce
The scallop had good flavour as did the truffle and cep but the cauliflower was lost 8/10

The signature dish of Crab lasagne with a cappuccino of shellfish and champagne foam
Was as good as any signature dish should be. The pasta was remarkably well cooked
and matched Well the earthy and sweet crab. Simple and good 9/10

Ballotine of salt cured fois gras was the only let down of the night.
The dish itself was well thought out although the 'salt cured' bit was lost on me
(and my pallet).The problems came in the execution. The dreaded cling film struck again.
Still wrapped around my wonderful fois was A nice big bit of The offending plastic wrapping.
Oh dear. One of my companions also found an unnervingly large piece of fruit stone on his plate. Not good at all. 4/10

The fish course was next up. Cod with glazed trotter savoy cabbage and lentils was wonderfully cooked with amazing stickiness coming from the trotter. Perfectly timed cod is probably the best fish you can hope for , the fish falling apart into its sticky sections was sublime 10/10

Breast of mallard with croustiliant of the leg was the meat offering and had good flavour if a bit too sweet. The confit leg being the star. Blackberrys in purée form adding tartness but overpowering and a bit sweet. 6/10

The next course divided the table. A tasting of barkham blue and aged Beaufort was served unusually (for a tasting menu) before deserts. The Beaufort breadcrumbed and fried and the
Barkham ontop of a fruit purée. Wonderfully rich and strong I thought this a triumph. The combination gave memories of cheesecake and marked the end of the savory courses well.
However , strong blue cheese can divide people and this did. Not to everyone's liking but I loved it. 8/10

The puds started with 'brillat-savarin cheesecake with passionfruit and lime'
Incredibly rich cheese with no lasting stickiness was teamed with sharp passionfruit jelly
And lime ice cream. Well made if a little predictable. 7/10

The 'banana souffle with rum and raisin icecream' was a perfect example
of its kind.With the Ice cream dumped in the middle just like i like. Light
as a feather but with an amazingly dense Structure, it was as good as it gets.
the banana flavour dominating wonderfully 10/10

Petit fours were a bit of a let down. Marinated fruit on sticks was probably all we could handle at this point (we were stuffed) but the salted chocolate truffles were a good accompaniment to the coffee, which could have been hotter 6/10

Overall it was very good. wine pairings were top notch with the odd top up.
service was 2star all the way. Very slick. Chairs pulled
And glasses topped up without thought. We were the last to leave and never for one second did
We feel rushed. Apart from the cling film it would have got top marks but overall 8/10

Square on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

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