6-10 Bruton Street
Tel. 020 7495 7100
Food type: French
Nearest tube: Bond Street
Website: The Square
Since the last time I wrote about the Square, they have seen 4 different maître d’s, a change in their head chef (Rob Weston has now moved on to head up La Trompette which is also owned by Nigel Platts-Martin, in his place is Gary Foulkes, a former sous chef here), a dining room refresh and a new kitchen being fitted. During my time of non-blogging, I have become somewhat of a regular here and have even done a day’s stage in their kitchen – trust me when I say that it is really tough work.
With the new kitchen also comes an a la carte menu which has pared back on the number of options available – from 8 to 6 options for both starters and mains. This is due to the increased complexity of each dish and so that the kitchen can focus on delivering each dish to the highest of standards. Additionally, during weekends, most customers tend to go for the tasting menu and hence allows the kitchen to focus on deliver a higher quality tasting menu.
It is worth talking about the addition of Gary to the Square’s kitchen and the departure of Rob. I personally feel that with Gary’s addition the cooking here is now a lot lighter and often incorporates a few eclectic touches thanks to his vast travels around the world. Even the presentation is a lot more daintier. Take for example their canapé of squid ink cracker with taramasalata – this was previously presented with the crackers sitting in a small glass containing a large amount of dip. Now the crackers are presented with small blobs of taramasalata prettily dotted around it.
Rest assured that if this is your first time at the Square, all of the beloved classics are still there – the timeless classic of langoustines with truffle and parmesan gnocchi remains unchanged but now benefits from a new plancha (flattop grill) in the refitted kitchen for more accurate cooking. Another of Phil’s signature, the roast foie gras remains equally as popular, with only the garnish changing depending on the seasons.
One of the dishes where the lighter style of cooking can be seen is a dish of Turbot with dashi broth and nameko mushrooms. This is a variation on one of Phil Howard’s classic of steamed sea bass with a dashi gel layer. Here the dashi gel is replaced with an ethereal and crystal clear dashi consommé which is packed with umami goodness and the various sea vegetables adds more freshness.
A lighter approach to mains also means that you are able to enjoy desserts. Phil’s gluten-free soufflés (instead of crème pâtissière, they use a rice pudding base) still remain on the menu although my favourite Brillat Savarin cheesecake has mysteriously gone AWOL. In its place are new desserts like an excellent deconstructed tiramisu.
Athough much has changed at the Square, funnily enough, a lot still remains the same. Phil’s rich and generous cooking is still there, but now with a lighter touch which I feel makes it even more enjoyable – gone are the days where I would struggle to make it past mains and God forbid actually going home due to being so stuffed. Hopefully, now with a new kitchen in place, the team can push on to greater things.