Alert: Partly-free-meal disclaimer in the text; gratuitous picture of toddler and her dad
As my 19-month-old daughter, Mersina, and her father, Martin, convened underneath our edge of the very long table at the Square I felt myself getting a little restless. It had taken one hour for our first two courses to arrive and we were waiting for the third.
The Ms were having a chat while I wondered why only every other or so course had a glass of wine as part of the wine flight and wouldn’t it have been better to add the apple from underneath the scallop to the mackerel tartar which is described as having horseradish and cucumber but all I could taste was beetroot. The sharpness would have helped it go from quite okay-ish to delicious.
There wasn’t far to go for the whole menu. It was all a very pleasant experience as the Ms and I enjoyed our complimentary^ seven-course taster menu. (I suspect the reviews would all be a couple of tones more positive if the wine had been included.)
Two dishes stood out as outstanding, the Battenberg of foie gras, ham hock and confit duck with piccalilli, apricot and hazelnut which was our third course and the Thai curry flavours dessert which was our seventh. The latter had little chilli meringues surrounding a ginger cake, lime leaf ice cream, lemongrass custard and a coconut & coriander panna cotta.
I was very glad of the lighter flavours rather than the chocolate salt caramel or some similar combination which is rather more popular. Martin, on the other hand lamented the lack of chocolate caramel and Mersina was instructed to go nowhere near the too spicy chilli meringues.
The Battenberg was fantastic although the piccalilli was rather pointless. Even as a mostly meat-averse diner I enjoyed this dish more than all the rest and we were even discussing it with the staff at the end of the night. A definite highlight.
The rest was nice, the two mains predictably filling, with the turbot slightly under-seasoned and the mussels a bit over-flavoured. If we could have been served a little more quickly I think I would have felt much happier.
There were three long dining tables with couples and groups scattered around the place. It didn’t ruin the intimacy because we had no one sitting next to us although the places were handily set.
When I mentioned that I needed a fork for my turbot and pork belly dish, the smiling waitress nodded and never brought one. I took mine from nearby. This reminds me of another issue with cutlery. The dishes all seemed to be served in a bizarre arrangement of tablets and little glass dishes or just very rounded bowls so I never knew where my cutlery should go or whether we would be getting a new set each time.
The food was all quite good and perhaps if I had gone on a date where I was too lost in my companion’s eyes to notice that hours and hours had passed by from start to end then I wouldn’t have minded the lack of attention. Both our single solitary scallop’s dishes (which our little girl devoured – both of ours) were left sitting next to us for a couple more courses. As it was, we barely ate at the same time as we were in entertaining-the-toddler mode.
The restaurant is, as we were told, child-friendly with a high chair set up for us and our little girl happily greeted wherever she wondered off to. The food is enjoyable and the two dishes I mentioned, the battenberg and the dessert are worth trying no matter whether you go for the tasting menu or not.
As my receipt reminded me, because our discount was labelled as such, there is a Groupon deal* for the Square Kitchen albeit not the seven-course one. It has a glass of prosecco each as well. Scoop it up while you can. (Don’t go with a toddler although ours did enjoy herself.)
Thank you, Square Kitchen. The food was enjoyable.
http://thesquareclub.com/square-kitchen/ , 15 Berkeley Square, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1HB
^ Complimentary as in we ordered one wine flight to share at £19.50 – four 125ml glasses of wine; a service charge of 12.5% of £129.50 cost and a subtraction of £55 each for the food since we were dining there at the request of the Square Kitchen in return for a review (total: £35.69).
*Not an affiliate link – I get no commission if you click through.
**Note, there is a pre-dessert of pear & whiskey, home made sherbert which is not worth mentioning.