We kick off the London & Munich series with a meal Bryan had in London solo earlier this year!
Bryan often travels for work. Occasionally, armed with his trusty little Sony camera (affiliate link!), he will take photos and send me his thoughts on some of the more note-worthy restaurants he has visited. Other posts I’ve written for places he has visited (but I have not!) are Sushi Yoshitake (3-Michelin stars) and Sushi Kanesaka in Tokyo, Luce in San Francisco, and Olo in Helsinki.
I am no stranger to London.
In fact, out of all the foreign cities I have visited, I would count London and Tokyo as the cities I know the best. I am particularly familiar with London because I have been visiting the UK for work almost annually since 2009. Interspersed throughout my London trips through the years, I have had the opportunity to try many fantastic places.
Up to this date, my favorite London dining experience ever has been at The Ledbury, a meal that blew me away so much that I described it as the type of rare meal where “every single course truly delights and impresses the palate.”
It wasn’t until much later that I learned about Chef Philip Howard.
It was Chef Howard who helped launch my beloved Ledbury (in partnership with Nigel Platts-Martin) as well as Kitchen W8 (in partnership with Rebecca Mascerenhas). Well before those two restaurants came into existence, Chef Howard was the chef-owner of The Square, a well-respected restaurant in London that has held onto its two Michelin stars for fifteen consecutive years.
During Bryan’s last business trip to London, he had the opportunity to enjoy dinner at The Square. Though I was not able to come on this trip, I hope Bryan’s photos and my accompanying text based on his notes give you a sense of the exquisite food coming out of this incredible kitchen.
The menu includes a three-course meal for £90 or a tasting menu for £115 (must be ordered by the whole table), or £185 including wine pairing. There’s a lunch set menu for £35 (two courses), or £40 (three courses). You can even do a 6-course lunch tasting (£60).
Bryan and his dining companion both opted for the full tasting.
After several starter amuse “bites” (pictured at the top of the post), the first real course was the Salad of Cooked and Raw Spring Vegetables, a beautiful celebration of spring that included fresh carrots, beets, asparagus, radish, and fennel. These vegetables were served with Montgomery cheddar “fondue”, a crisp quail egg, and edible flowers.
The next course was the Tartare of Milk Fed Veal, which consisted of thinly sliced pieces of raw veal served over with a mixture of confit tuna and smoked anchovy tempura. On the side sat white asparagus (spring!) and a piece of charred ciabatta.
The third course was the Lasagne of Dorset Crab with a”cappuccino” of shellfish and champagne foam. This is one of the restaurant’s signature dishes and has been on the menu for a very long time. People rave about the rich seafood flavors in the creamy soup.
The fourth course was the Soft Boiled Black Headed Gull Egg, a barely cooked gull egg served with coastal herbs, Lincolnshire smoked eel, seaweed, and a creamy lovage puree poured tableside.
Look at how intensely yellow that yolk is!
The fifth course was the Slow Cooked Fillet of Turbot, a mild but tender fish served with crushed Jersey royals (a type of local potato), pickled celery, mussels, and cider.
The final main course was the Short Best End of Suffolk Cross Lamb, a perfectly cooked piece of (rare) lamb served sweet gem hearts, Languedoc Valley sheep’s curd, spring vegetables, and mint.
Bryan knows about my obsession with Britain’s digestives and hob nobs (I even tried making my own once). This is why he immediately texted me a photo from his meal – house baked digestives cookies!
For the cheese course, out came the Buchanan’s Foxwhelp along with some accompaniments.
Brillat-Savarin, a cow’s milk triple cream brie from Burgundy and Normandy, was the second cheese and came served with poached apricots and elderflower ice cream.
For dessert, an impressive Passionfruit and Lime Souffle arrived topped with a unique sauternes ice cream.
And finally, a few petit fours to round out a fantastic meal.
The Square is definitely a white tablecloth type of place, where people speak with hushed voices and the overall atmosphere is formal. Expect to see a lot of suits, business dinners, and (likely) expense accounts (heh, just like Bryan).
The food quality is excellent, and Bryan reported back very favorably on his meal at The Square. It’s pretty incredible that a restaurant that opened in 1991 has managed to maintain its 2 Michelin star rating for so long.
Though Bryan concedes that The Ledbury remains his favorite meal of all times in London, he maintains that The Square does an excellent job overall, fully deserving of its many accolades.
The Square London
6-10 Bruton Street
Mayfair, London W1J 6PU