The Square in Mayfair has been on my radar for many years, a two Michelin starred restaurant, I finally got to experience it last weekend. With Mother's Day coming up TRULY Experiences sent me a gorgeous gift box with a treat inside for mum and I - lunch for two at The Square.
After visiting it's one Michelin-starred sister restaurant Kitchen W8 a couple of years ago, and having a really really exceptional meal, to say I was excited is an understatement. For the past 23 years (it was born the same year as me - 1991!) Phil Howard's baby has been renowned amongst London foodies, and I counted down the weeks before we went.
The Square is located on Bruton Street, right around the corner from Mr Foggs. We were greeted warmly by the staff, and then sat down in the light and airy dining room, which at 1pm was already busy. As I fly to Australia in less than two weeks I'm being good and avoiding alcohol and trying to detox a bit, so I stuck to still water all lunch (so proud of myself!). Mum had a really refreshing freshly-squeezed blood orange juice and soda, which I had a cheeky taste of and it was delicious.
TRULY Experiences offer luxury experience days such as dining out, holidays, spa trips, and once in a lifetime experiences which includes private dining in the Tower of London! The idea is that you choose which one to give to someone, and order it online. A beautifully packaged card arrives on their doorstep, and they then give the TRULY Concierge a call to book in a date and time for their experience. The process couldn't be simpler, and it means everything is already paid for, however for dining experiences they might have to pay for drinks if the experience doesn't specifically include that.
Before our starters arrived we were given a choice of two breads; sourdough or a crusty brown roll. I went for the sourdough and it was so, so good. The breads were still warm and the butter just melted on top of the thick slice. We were then presented with an amuse bouche, which consisted of a squid ink cracker, blue cheese tart, and something with anchovy on top (I don't eat anchovies so I gave this one a miss). I have to admit I wasn't a fan of any of these, all of them were very strong flavours and I was desperate for something else to take the different tastes away.
Thankfully our starters arrived soon after, but it would have been ideal to have a palate cleanser inbetween. We both opted for the crispy bantam egg with wild garlic shots, new season morels, puffed cereals and toasted grains, and I have to say, this dish was exceptional. Mum found it slightly too garlic-y, but I adored it. The egg was perfectly runny and oozed out of the crispy outer shell. A savoury brioche accompanied the dish, so I used it to mop up the runny egg yolk.
We then had a small break before our mains arrived. I chose the lamb with hay infused potato, jerusalem artichokes, calçot onions, and serra da estrela sheeps curd. I found the lamb quite fatty to be completely honest, but the meat that was there was incredibly tender and the whole dish worked really well with the sheeps curd.
My mum had the sea bream with mussels, cockles, vegetables, seaweed and cucumber. She said it was delicious, and actually I got major food envy and wished I'd had that instead!
As we were on the set menu (£45pp for three courses), there were only two dessert options; cheese, or tiramisu. Sadly I can never have the cheese selection as I'm allergic to mould (thus I can't eat blue cheeses), and I couldn't have the tiramisu either due to the coffee in it. Thankfully the staff were lovely and allowed me to choose a dessert off the A La Carte menu for no extra charge. I chose the seville orange soufflé with marmalade and brown toast ice-cream. Mum opted for the tiramisu, as it's a favourite of hers.
I'd never had soufflé before so didn't really know what to expect when it came to the taste and texture of it, but it was really good and quite a light dessert after the heaviness of the lamb. The waiter poked the top of the soufflé and slowly pushed the ice-cream down into it. The ice-cream had quite an unusual taste, but it worked well with the orange soufflé. The orange wasn't too overpowering either, it was such a delicate flavour.
Mum said the tiramisu was tasty, but had a bit of a strange texture, apparently it was quite grainy. I think this might have been because it wasn't a traditional tiramisu, it was more of a fancy-pants 'deconstructed' one.
Overall we had such a lovely lunch, it was really relaxed, the room was modern and light, and the staff were absolutely wonderful. The food was a bit hit and miss, but that was down to personal tastes and not the skill of the chefs.
The restaurant itself is very very different from Kitchen W8, although the decor feels similar, The Square feels much more pretentious (your plates are brought out on huge silver platters carried by a number of staff members), and unnecessarily so. I'm so glad I finally got to experience The Square, but I'm not sure I'll go back, there are other places I prefer, including Kitchen W8.
So, I'd say if you want somewhere for a special occasion, head to The Square, but if you're looking for more of a friendly neighbourhood restaurant that still holds a michelin star, go for Kitchen W8.
A huge thank you to TRULY for giving me the opportunity to visit a restaurant that has been on my list for so long! If you're looking for the perfect Mother's Day gift, check out their gorgeous range of experiences specifically for that special lady in your life.
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