My expectations were very high, The Square is, after all a two star Michelin restaurant and is exorbitantly expensive. In this case I shouldn’t have worried, my expectations were well met and almost exceeded.
Up to now my wife and I have not really had an opportunity to go out in the evening together and without our daughter Rose. This has meant that we missed celebrating in a big way either Deborah’s birthday or our anniversary. Now that Rose sleeps from 7pm through to 7am we thought we could risk a night out. The restaurant was booked, the babysitter was arranged, a new dress was purchased and we were set.
As often happens, my keenness not to be late meant that we got to Mayfair almost half an hour early. No problem I thought, we can pop into the Claridges bar for a quick snifter. We opened the door, but instead of a serene and stately scene of sophisticates, the place was heaving. I battled to the bar and got Deborah a ‘Somerset summer’ and myself a classic G&T. I’d hoped for a little sit down in some comfortable leather while we chatted about everything or nothing. In the end we stood by the (lovely art deco) fireplace and tried to keep out of the way of the waitresses. Then it was off to the main event.
Our coats were taken and we were whisked to our seats where we could then really start enjoying the anticipation of a first class meal. Having already had an aperitif at Claridges we declined some champagne while looking at the menus. As ever in these places were were each given a small selection of ‘amuse bouches’ which were delightful, the highlight being a fois gras in a tiny cone.
We then got the ‘pre-starter’ of a very tasty glass of chicken jelly, foam and something else. Only two mouthfuls, but delicious. Apparently our starters were going to be slightly delayed, so we got given a little prawn on gnocchi with truffle thing (amazing) just to keep us going. We were offered some bread, which I would only rate as ‘ok’.
Bear in mind we hadn’t even got to the starters yet.
I went for the ‘Lasagne of Dorset Crab with a Cappuccino of Shellfish and a Champagne Foam’ and Deborah the ‘Scallops with black truffle’.
That crab lasagna was probably the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted. It was incredibly rich with a strongly flavoured foam that went so well with the delicate crab. Stunning. Deborah’s scallops were top class too, although in my opinion they were ‘only’ very very good.
The only minor down point was the choice of an Italian Riesling to go with my starter. The wine was delicious in itself, but I think I could have done with something a little bolder, maybe an oaky white or maybe even a pinot noir. A demerit to the sommelier here.
For mains Deborah opted for the ‘Roast Saddle of Lincolnshire Hare with a Tarte Fine of Celeriac and Pear’ and I the ‘Fillet and Croustillant of Aged Ayrshire Beef with Cepes, Shallots, Bone Marrow and Red Wine’. The hare was sweet but gamey but yet quite delicate. It was on a bed of pastry and had a fruity sauce that was really appropriate.
Up to this point I’d thought that there would be nothing that was likely to top my starter, but my main may well have done. It was a real medley of meat. Apart from the main fillet itself there were what looked like little sausage rolls containing shreds of beef, cepes, pureed cress and an amazing sauce. Every single mouthful was astonishing and i’m sure I said ‘wow’ several times. Even the portions were fairly generous.
We both had lovely full bodied red wines with our mains and this time they went perfectly.
To make sure we were eased gently into the dessert course we had a ‘pre-dessert’ of caramel, jelly and custard with a tiny doughnut on top. Again, only two mouthfuls, but wonderful. Normally i’d really go for the cheese board, but after two very rich courses I felt like something sweet.
There were many tempting choices, but eventually I elected to have the ‘Date Soufflé with Burnt Orange and Almond Ice Cream’ and Deborah had the ‘Brillat-Savarin Cheesecake with Passionfruit, Mango and a Citrus Terrine’. I really like a souffle and this did not disappoint at all. It was light and tasty and the orange flavour was distinct yet delicate. Deborah’s cheesecake looked more like a modernist piece of art than food and it seemed a shame to have to spoil the look by eating it. Both of our desserts were really good, but we agreed that again mine edged it.
By this time we were well satisfied, but there were still the petit-fours and coffee to enjoy. Next to other top class restaurants I’ve been to I thought the petit fours were fairly average and the coffee nothing special.
This only left us with paying the bill and a cab ride home.
Deborah and I have been to a fair number of Michelin starred restaurants over the years (although mostly for lunch) and I think this was the best meal I’ve had out of all of them. The bill was slightly painful, but considering the pleasure and wonderful experience we’d both had it seemed like a small price to pay. A very magical evening and a top meal.