My first experience of The Square was the set lunch menu on a Saturday and I have to admit I wasn’t as blown away as I had expected to be, though with hindsight, perhaps I ordered the wrong dish. Having heard great things about The Square, I was eager to return for dinner and sample the a la carte menu.
My friend and I were surprised at how few diners there were when we arrived but this was probably because it was a Sunday evening. The décor is elegantly understated with polished wooden flooring, soft lighting and neutral walls punctuated with bursts of colour from the carefully selected pieces of modern art.
The meal started off excellently with an amuse bouche of the restaurant’s signature dish Sauté of Scottish Langoustine Tails with Parmesan Gnocchi and an Emulsion of Potato and Truffle. To say it was exquisite would be an understatement; the sweet taste of langoustine was balanced out by the earthy girolles purée, the singular gnocco was delicate and delightfully cheesy, the crispy shallot garnish added texture and the truffle emulsion made my taste buds sing (although it has to be said, truffle is my gastronomic Achilles’ heel!).
For my starter I opted for the Terrine of Chicken, Foie Gras and Girolles with Grilled Spring Onions, Hazelnut Oil and a Chicken Liver Cream. The smooth girolles and foie gras were a welcome texture amidst the chicken and the spring onions used to garnish added a much-needed sweetness. Despite being a good, solid dish, for me it paled in comparison to the sublime langoustine amuse bouche.
My lovely dining companion Grace chose the Velouté of Nettles with Chicken Oysters, Quail Eggs, Almonds and Girolles. The velouté was a beautiful vibrant green colour and in that respect reminded me a little of Heston Blumenthal’s savoury snail porridge. Although I have drunk nettle tea, I have never eaten anything with nettle in it before and was unsure what to expect. The flavour of the velouté itself was actually quite subtle, allowing the meaty chicken oysters and generous helping of truffle to shine. Grace chose to have it without the quail eggs but I would have been interested to see if they would have added a different dimension to this very nice dish. Given another opportunity I would have picked the Tartare of English Rose Veal with Violet Artichokes and Summer Truffle as my starter since that also caught my eye on the menu.
Between our starter and main course we were served a Mediterranean-inspired amuse bouche of Grilled Red Mullet with Sardine Vinaigrette, Violet Potatoes, Baby Artichokes and Aioli. The red mullet was perfectly cooked and had lovely crispy skin; the artichokes tasted almost pickled and were a clever counterpoint to the sweet peppers and creamy, rich aioli.