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No Corners Cut At The Square, Mayfair

March 21, 2018

Restaurants & Bars | by Baldwin Ho


When you have the MARC Group who already owns high-end restaurants like The Greenhouse and Umu as well as top restaurants in the States take over The Square, you naturally enter with high expectations. After a summer of renovations, they reopened towards the end of 2017 to bring the haute back into cuisine for Mayfair diners.

Taking inspiration from the art galleries of Mayfair, the walls are varying shades of grey punctuated by abstract pieces of modern artwork. Whilst some pieces are undoubtedly spectacular once you grasp the meaning of the piece; the atmosphere was strangely austere and muted during our visit. You almost feel like you are there to study the technical brilliance of the food rather than the enjoyment of it.

The epicurean tasting feast we embarked on was curated by Chef Clément Leroy, who worked at Guy Savoy’s eponymous Paris restaurant as well as Auberge du Jeu de Paume in Chantilly. Whilst his wife, talented pastry chef, Chef Aya Tamura masterminded the innovative dessert creations.

Flamed mackerel had a delightful oily texture but none of the odoriferous notes often associated with this type of fish. On the menu, the other ingredients included pink radish and snow leaf, but a cursory count indicated at least 9 items that accompanied the mackerel, such is the technical intricacies of preparing such a dish.

One of Clément’s signature dishes is his scallop with coffee and marsala. He used Orkney scallops which has a meaty flesh and melt-in-your-mouth texture. The kitchen team carefully made cuts into the scallop so it readily absorbed the coffee and marsala flavours. Coffee is such an underused ingredient in terms of food preparation, you wonder why it only seems to make an appearance in Starbucks coffee cups.

Whilst I am not a fan of offaly dishes, the sweetbread dish here was executed with supreme technical precision: moist, smooth and creamy tasting and had none of the musty flavours compared to other offal dishes. And the raw squid ‘pasta’ that accompanied the dish just added that je ne sais quoi to the creation.

Crisp red mullet might sound relatively mundane in comparison, but the ultra crisped up red scales delivered mouthfuls of culinary joy. Apparently, it is an haute cuisine cooking technique that uses hot oil to deliver the crispiness.

The increasing trend of using vegetables in desserts was very much in evidence at The Square with their classy creation: St John’s Wood honey with grapefruit and sweet potato. Whilst you can learn Grand Cru doesn’t just apply to wine, but also in chocolate with their Chocolat Grand Cru, pistachio, and red shiso dessert.

You can have matching wines to pair with their tasting menu or pick your own, which might be a tricky task for the indecisive given the encyclopedic length of their wine list.

Ignore the monastic atmosphere and head to The Square to sample their sumptuous tasting feast.

For more information on The Square, see here.

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