Saturday, 13 July 2013

The Square, Mayfair, London review

A couple of weeks ago Mrs G and I went for lunch at The Square with Gourmet Gilly and his fiancé. We used their engagement and a joint birthday celebration to justify advancing to Mayfair.

Firstly, a few key facts about The Square - Chef-patron Phil Howard has held 2 Michelin stars since 1998, he cooked the winning fish course on Great British Menu 2012, and Mrs G really fancies him.

As with most Michelin gaffs, a set lunch at The Square is by far the best value way to eat in what would otherwise be eye watering luxury. The Square’s 3 course set lunch will set you back £40 compared to their £90 3 course a la carte £90 and their £115 tasting menu. If you ferret around in the lengthy wine list there are also a few sub £30 bottles to be found as well. We ordered a bottle of a grapefruity Equilibrio Coastal Sauvignon Blanc from Chile (£28).

The laid back professionalism of The Square’s serving team and the dining room’s unstuffy atmosphere are worth a mention too – it's a stark contrast to the identikit drones and hushed library whispers of many fine dining establishments.

Onto the nosh...

An amuse bouche of bocconcini mozzarella with olive, capers, romero peppers and white balsamic was surprisingly average. Fried breadcrumbs, red pepper and caper were the predominant flavours, somewhat masking the delicate creaminess of the mozzarella.

Warm wholemeal and white rolls were faultless.

Mrs G started with an heirloom tomato salad with sheep’s curd. The fresh, nuanced flavours of the different tomatoes and light creamy curd were a perfect match. However, Mrs G had food envy...

My warm salad of mackerel was one of the best things I’ve eaten all year. Meaty mackerel fillets, lightly chargrilled potatoes, sea-like oyster cream, moreish mussel beignets, salty samphire, clean tasting mackerel tartare and soft razor clams. This was an utterly amazing dish which deftly balanced a multitude of flavours.

In a really boring turn of events, we all ordered the same main course – flavour packed roast Cornish red chicken. The combination of unctuous brown meat, slightly too firm breast and a chicken filled raviolo meant protein dominated the plate. Accompaniments comprised of crispy diced hazelnuts, a meaty truffle infused sauce and a smear of creamy potato(?) puree. The best thing on the plate, however, was a piece of chargrilled lettuce with a bobby dazzlingly complex flavour.

For pud I ordered a superb dark chocolate fondant accompanied by a light milk ice cream.  The fondant was rich but not too sweet and the oozing centre sheltered the hidden crackle of popping candy.

Mrs G’s apricot and almond tarte fine with a subtle camomile ice cream was first-rate too – thin crisp pastry and caramelised apricots combined effectively. However, the portion size was teeny weeny.

I’ll be daydreaming about The Square’s cheese trolley for months to come. 

Gourmet Gilly’s knockout selection (£10.00 Supplement or £15.00 as an extra course) included something epically socky and a couple of excellent blues. Homemade oatcakes and sultana chutney sealed the deal.

Accompanying the bill was some excellent, seriously chewy nougat packed with crisp nuts.

We had an excellent meal at The Square. However, whilst most of the dishes were stellar, a couple felt a little conservative. In spite of this, The Square is a pretty darn lovely place to have a relaxed lunch after a busy morning shopping for a new Bentley or a Temperley dress..  

The details:

Address - 6-10 Bruton Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 6PU
Telephone - 020 7495 7100


  1. I ate at The Square about 18 months ago... and your description is pretty much spot on to what we felt. All the food was good, some of it very very good, coupled with very good service, and yes, perhaps just a tiny bit conservative.

    I'd go back without a second thought though

    What's more when you realise you can spend up to around £27+ a head in a chain restaurant like Cafe Rouge or Strada, and that's without Bread, Amuse Bouche, or Petit Fours, the Set Lunch Menu at The Square is very good value.

    1. @Anonymous - Agreed, costs add quickly in up in chain places. It's so easy to spend £30 on a really mediocre meal.

  2. Minimalistic, would prefer hearty meal elsewhere! Good review anyway!

    1. @Anonymous - Yes, some of the portion sizes could have been bigger but oh my, that mackerel dish was incredible!

  3. We are in London in June and fancied the square for lunch, would you recommend?

    1. @Scontlandeatsout - It's very good and definitely worth a visit but... I think The Ledbury serves a more interesting version of the same type of food.