My husband and I had the luxury of going out for dinner. Our kids were staying at their grandparents for two nights over the half term so we decided to take full advantage of this and go to dinner after work.
My husband chose the two Michelin star restaurant The Square, Mayfair. My husband and I are fans of the TV programme Great British Menu, it’s a cookery show in which Britain’s most incredible chefs compete against each other to cook in a themed banquet. We had watched Phil Howard, chef and co owner of The Square, go from being a contestant to a judge. So we were already fans of the Chef, and wanted to taste his food.
We arrived at The Square and were shown to our table. The restaurant was far smaller than it looked from the outside and from what I had imagined.
We chose champagne as an apéritif and enjoyed some canapés. There was foie gras in a cone, pork cheek and some (squid ink?) crackers. I really need to start listening when they explain what’s been put on the table, but I’m so desperate to eat it!
All the canapés were delicious but the pork cheek was an absolute show stopper! Wow! A tiny little morsel packed so much punch. Amazing flavour. The standard of canapés I’ve eaten lately is so high, it’s amazing how delicious just one purposely made mouthful of food can taste. Hooray for canapés!
So while sipping and nibbling and reading through the menus we decided to go for the tasting menu. To be honest we always go for the tasting menus, because they showcase the best of what the restaurants have to offer. We went for the paired wines too, we don’t know a great deal about wine, or pretend to, but an enjoyable part of our dining experience is engaging with the sommelier. We like hearing the descriptions of where the wine has come from and what smells and tastes the sommelier suggests.
When asked if we were happy with the menu I expressed my dislike for Mackerel, unfortunately for me this was one of the first courses. I cheekily suggested crab lasagne as a substitution. Well if you don’t ask you don’t get! Our server said he’d speak with the kitchen and see what he could do.
After a few moments we were given individual menus, to remind us of our dishes. I took a sneak peak and to my delight my wish was their command, the makeral had disappeared and the crab lasagne had been added to my menu!
Our first courses arrived, for me smoked beetroot, and for my husband mackerel. The sommelier brought out two separate wines. As I had a different course in a different order to my husband this had been reflected in the wine pairings.
What a great start, cheese, pear and beetroot are always a winning combination I loved the smokiness too.
My next course for me was a signature dish of Dorset crab lasagne, my husband had the smoked beetroot.
Oh My Goodness, this dish was sooooooo good! The crab was layered in a tiny lasagne and foamy gorgeousness was poured over the top. Although he would never admit it there was serious food envy going on.
My husband and I were both in receipt of the same dishes now and next up were langoustine tails.
One of my favourite foods is langoustine. This dish was incredible as anticipated. I loved the tiny little deep fried shallot rings delicately balanced on top. The langoustines were so plump and juicy and a lovely shaving of truffle just made it perfection.
The next course was chicken wings, and no they were absolutely not how I had envisaged. The bone was removed and it had been stuffed and served on top of pasta. I eat a lot of dry pasta at home, it’s very quick and easy when you have a family, so eating fresh pasta is a dream. Another delicious dish, such a fantastic and diverse menu so far.
Now I don’t usually get excited over a fish dish but this was beautiful perfectly flaky soft cod, I loved all the components and presentation.
Onto the main event, 55 day aged rare breed pork. It was served pink! I know some people would be alarmed by the colour. It was perfectly fine. I was taking about it when my husband had left the table and it was explained that some breeds of pork, the higher quality ones, are fine to eat pink as the pigs are feed on a special diets which make a huge difference to the meat. I was never concerned, I trust the restaurant and will always eat the meat the way the chef recommends anyway. It was really tender, the tea smoked sausage was lovely and the pork crackling was fantastic, great crunch. Fabulous dish and a first for me eating pink pork, I didn’t hesitate for a second.
As our plates were cleared we were offered a tour of the kitchen. My husband and I are very passionate and love to engage with the staff, so we accepted. Unfortunately Phil Howard was not in the kitchen that night, its amazing how small restaurant kitchens are and how cool and calm the staff appear. We were then shown the wine cellar which was also really small but very well organised. Truly fascinating!
When we arrived back to our table our cheese course was ready and waiting. I like it when a actual cheese course is created, and it was quite simply a piece of cheese and some chutney. There was a cheese trolley, but my husband and I tend to get a bit greedy so we stuck to the menu.
This was served with port, I find this drink very strong, it’s not a drink I enjoy. So the sommelier adjusted my wine pairings. He made his own judgement and I really appreciated this.
The first of the desserts was a rhubarb and vanilla fool served with a tiny little warm doughnut on the side, which reminded me of being at the seaside and eating a bag of hot sugared doughnuts, obviously this one was a lot less greasy!
Time for the ultimate dessert, souffle. I do love a souffle and you have to admire restaurants who are confident enough to have these on their menu. The chef had nailed the souffle, text book perfection. Light and airy with a great crunch from the salted toffee.
We had our coffees and petit fours and thanked all the staff for their fantastic welcoming service, we had been made to feel like VIPs with such incredibly attentive service and food to match.