The Square, London

It was time to go back to the Square, which I find to be among the very finest restaurants in London. I won’t write anything about the general background of the restaurant, but I will just mention the food and wines we had, as I have written enough about this place before already. Service was of course brilliant, as it always is here, with David and the team looking after us really well. We were five, so I had asked Marc Piquet, the great sommelier, to organise a few courses around a couple of wines. We started with a very good bottle of 2002 Larmandier Bernier Vieilles Vignes de Cramant, which was beautiful, and really had a great depth and concentration for a 100% Chardonnay Champagne. Next up was a bottle of Selosse’s Exquise which was outstanding. Note, that this was one of the old bottles, which still have the old label. This means, that the wine has aged in the cellars of the restaurant for quite a while and was absolutely terrific. Rich, whilst not overly sweet or generous, it evolved throughout the whole night. By the end, it drank like a very well made, very fruity white wine. Gorgeous and unforgettable. Next up, we ran out of white wine, and therefore got a glass of 2002 Pulingy Montrachet Clos de la Garenne from Louis Jadot. This was merely alright, but I much more prefer, say a Carillon Pulingy villages from a less good year than this, as it was thin, pretty pale and uninspiring. Next up was another bomb though. A 2001 Grange des Peres. Not quite as good as the 1998, I had tried at the Harwood Arms a few weeks earlier, but definitely in great shape. It was serious wine, and all I can say, is that it really made me quite happy. The final blow was a great wine too: A 1995 Kracher Scheurebe No.6. Also dressed in one of the old labels of Kracher, this wine was incredibly intense, concentrated, oily and very well balanced. This was stunning stuff, and great with the desserts we tried.  All in all, we drank superbly well this night, and the food was to be just as interesting.

We started with the selection of amuses, which were very enjoyably as usual. However, I can only say again, that the prawn stick was a little dry again. Apart from that, these amuses are playful, fun and well made. Very good. After this we went straight into very serious territory. A nice Isle of Orkney scallop was placed atop a wild mushroom compote and pumpkin puree. This was topped with grated black truffles. Wow! I can hardly recall a better dish at the Square. Without doubt this was a very fine dish: Even better than the Cauliflower dish I had on my birthday.  Excellent to outstanding.

Next came the famous langoustine, which is always on top form here, and still the best quality of langoustine I have found. Excellent to outstanding.

Next came a fish course: Turbot with truffles, morels and gnocchi. Very good quality in terms of turbot, the cooking time was also perfect, as were the accompaniments. Another very successful dish here. Very good.

Our first main course was a beautiful venison with beetroot and other root vegetables. A dish, which played with smoky, sweet and sour elements, this was a very fine plate of food again. The only thing I found a little annoying was the beet root puree, which was a tad too sweet for my taste. However, with the other elements it came together quite well. Very good.

The second main course was a pork chop with rhubarb and a croustillant of the head or trotters. The croustillant was absolutely amazing, whilst the chop was cooked very well too. The rhubarb was quite a welcome addition here, as it brightened things up, both visually and in terms of flavour. Very good.

After a delightful pre-dessert, with that fabulous beignet, we were ready for dessert.

I chose a crushed pear with truffle ice cream. Very simple, but incredibly nice. The dessert was served luke warm, and had quite warming, earthy flavours. Not bad at all. Excellent, and a worthy partner of the Kracher.

The second dessert was just as good, a rhubarb based plate, it featured a whole number of things, all of which were very good. Excellent.

All in all, we were extremely lucky today. The wines were magnificent, apart from the Puligny maybe, and the kitchen was on top form too. There was hardly one dish, which lacked some kind of interesting twist, and all were perfectly executed. After the slightly less successful meal on my birthday, this was the Square back on top form. In terms of modernised classical food, one is very safe here.

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