It's Just Nice

A lifestyle blog bringing you fashion, music, food, and everything else that's just nice about Bristol and beyond!

The Square Kitchen Taster Menu

When we received a Twitter message from the lovely people at The Square Club in Clifton, inviting us along to try their new Autumn taster menu we were more than a little bit excited.

Yes, we were most definitely looking forward to seven courses of seasonal, locally sourced fine dining, but more than that it meant that people are actually reading It’s Just Nice, and not just our mums! And that…is very exciting!

Anyway, last night Franks and I trotted up to The Square Club, which is tucked away on Berkeley Square, just off Park Street. From the outside it looks no different to any of its neighbouring Georgian buildings, but when you step inside you know you’re in line for something a little bit special.

Now as someone who used to work in interior design, and is a self confessed upholstery fiend, the lounge at The Square Club is actual heaven. Mismatched sofas upholstered in borderline gaudy pink crushed velvet are only pulled off by the fact they’re positioned amongst some wicked taxidermy, including a life sized peacock and a some sort of mounted deer head, complete with sequinned eye make up…as you do. This place is effortlessly cool.

The dining room is a similar affair, with rows of heavy oak tables, soft lighting and lovely warm colours which give the whole place a laid back, welcoming atmosphere – something that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from somewhere with such a fancy menu!

So onto the food…! As mentioned, we tried the new taster menu, which gives you a snapshot of exactly what the Square Club’s menu is all about, and it didn’t disappoint.

Truffle & thyme popcorn, Pea & ham soup, mackerel tartar, horseradish, cucumber

What Meg thought…

I loved everything about this, apart from the popcorn – I just didn’t really think it brought anything to the rest of the dish. The soup, however, took pea and ham soup to a whole new level, with huge chunks of ham, which just fell apart.

What Frankie thought…

I agree with Meg. The soup was amazing- really tasty and some good old chunks of ham hock. The mackerel was yummer! I’m new to the world of fish and I can’t get enough of mackerel right now, plus the way they presented it was beautiful. The popcorn? Nah, I’ll leave that ta.

Seared scallop, raisin, granny smith

What Meg thought…

I love scallops and this was probably the best scallop I’ve ever had – huge, sweet and perfectly cooked. I’ll leave the rest to Franks, as she’s the apple expert round these parts…

What Frankie thought…

Scallops, oh how I love you so- you’re so yummy and juicy (and this was a perfectly cooked scallop too). And lady Apple, you’re my number one! Me and you are BFFs! Seriously though, who’d have thought that Mrs Granny Smith would work so well with a scallop. A granny is very sharp and it actually works really well with the rich, sweet, flavour of the scallop. (Although if we’re talking apples I would have liked to have seen an English variety on the table).

Battenberg of foie gras, ham hock & confit duck, piccalilli, apricot, hazelnut

What Meg thought…

 Yes…a meat battenberg. So wrong, yet so very, very right. I’ve never had foie gras before, and whilst it pains me to say it, this was melt in your mouth and quite simply, amazing. The home made picalilli packed a real punch, with a lovely strong mustard flavour and generous chunks of veg, which in my book, makes for a winning picalilli!

What Frankie thought…

A meat battenberg you say? A battenberg made out of meat? You’re going to take a load of meat and turn it into a battenberg? Yeah alright, sounds awesome. It really was! The foie gras was amazing and I really should have asked how the birds were fed as you can buy foie gras from farmers that do not force feed the birds to eat. Plus picalilli is one of my favourites and their’s was perfect.

Cornish turbot, pommes mousseline, pork belly, sea garnish

What Meg thought…

This was a contender for  one of my favourite courses. I could have eaten five times the amount of everything on this plate, especially the pork belly, which was the perfect combo of crispy, salty crackling and buttery pork.

What Frankie thought…

Pork belly- winner. Cornish turbot- soft, flaky and delicious. mussels, clams and marsh samphire (one of my favs) complete with sea foam- get out of here! This was definitely one of the best courses.

Venison, salsify, soil, snails, herbs, flowers, nettles

What Meg thought…

Another culinary first for me here – snails! Almost verging on beefy, these were so tasty I could have done with more  than 2, but then again, I’m quite greedy!

What Frankie thought…

Yeah I liked it. The venison was good and rare. The herb crust was lovely. The snails were tasty. It looked very pretty on the plate. I don’t know, something didn’t hit it for me. I think I could have done with some more gravy (sorry).

Pear and whiskey, home made sherbet

What Meg thought…

Pear, whiskey and home made sherbet…sounds like a weird combination but it had both of us oohing and aahing like crazy ladies! The shot was almost silky, and the home made sherbet was so good we ended up dipping our fingers in it like kids…classy!

What Frankie thought…

I want this again, right now! This was just so surprisingly lovely. Also, it was really good fun- a nice little after dinner treat for when you’re all feeling a little bit jazzy from the wine. It’s like a grown up dib dab and I love a dib dab.

Thai curry flavours, ginger cake, lime leaf ice cream, lemongrass custard, cocnut & coriander panna cotta

What Meg thought…

Thai curry flavours in a dessert…now that’s a risky choice. Individually, all of these components were fantastic, with the exception of the coriander and coconut panna cotta (downright weird!).

However, put them together and the flavour combination made for the most aromatic, fragrant and innovative dessert I’ve ever eaten. Sheer genius!

What Frankie thought…

So I went straight in and tried the coriander and coconut panna cotta and was like “what is this in my mouth? get it out! urgh!” Then Meg suggested I try it all together and I was like “Boom! this chef is a genius.” It just works, you don’t think it will, but it does.

So, there it is – our not particularly eloquent run down of all of the delights we tried at The Square Club. The taster menu is priced at £55 a head, which considering the sheer amount of food you get , is great value. The wine flight, if you fancy it, is an additional £19 per head for four glasses. This isn’t half bad as it is, but when you consider the wines they’ve matched to the courses average £28 a bottle, it’s actually a bit of a steal.

So the overall verdict on The Square Club? Excellent food, served in gorgeous surroundings, with a laid back atmosphere that provides a great compliment to the seriously high standards of everything they do. If you’re after somewhere for a celebratory meal, or something a bit romantic, then The Square Club should be your first port of call.

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6 comments on “The Square Kitchen Taster Menu

  1. jamieatherton
    October 8, 2012

    this is really tricky to read with this background

    • Meg Pope
      October 8, 2012

      Hey Jamie, thanks for the comment! How do you mean – is it the actual site background which is causing the problem? Cheers, Meg.

      • jamie
        October 8, 2012

        Hi Meg,

        when I read this earlier this page was transparent and I coudn’t read the words but now it appears white. Problem solved.

      • Meg Pope
        October 8, 2012

        Aw excellent! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Taster Menu Launch Square Kirchen Restaurant Bristol | Square Club

  3. Pingback: Bristol bloggers bonanza at The Square « Bristol Culture

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This entry was posted on October 8, 2012 by in Food and tagged , , , , , , .

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