One of my favourite things about Bristol is that as much as you like to think you know the city, there is always something new to discover. I’d heard of The Square before, and I think even been to a work party in its Christmas Grotto one year, but I had no idea that it had its own restaurant with a pretty bangin’ menu. A couple of weeks ago, I went along with some blogging friends to try it for myself.
The Square Club is actually a private members club for those in the creative industries, but they also have a restaurant and hotel open to the public as well. As I walked into the space I can totally understand why you’d want to use it as a creative hub – the whole place is full of colour, light and beautiful artwork.
We started with a pre-dinner cocktail below the kitchen in the bar, which had a lovely cosy vibe and plenty of delicious-sounding drinks to try. I went for the Champagne Gin Mojito (I just can’t stay away from a gin cocktail, especially when combined with some bubbles!). It was the perfect mix of spirit and fizz and the ideal accompaniment to having an explore around one of the hotel rooms.
Set opposite the lovely green Berkeley Square framed by some of Bristol’s gorgeous old houses, the rooms are so peaceful and quiet, yet obviously right in the middle of the city centre. I loved the little details that had been provided – from the little pots of brandy labelled ‘Sip Me’ to the white waffle bathrobes, you really did feel at home as soon as you walked in. And all of our mouths dropped open when we realised that the cabinet in the corner opened out into a whole mini kitchen. I strongly feel that I need one of these for my own house – think of the space we’d save!
Back in the dining room, some tantalising smells were wafting from the kitchen and we were ready to get munching! We started with some ham hock and piccalilli appetisers before our starters came out, which were beautifully presented and disappeared pretty quickly, amid much talk about how tasty they were. Then we were on to our starter. I went for the scallops (because who doesn’t bloody love a scallop) and fell in love as soon as my dish arrived – not only were the scallops beautifully cooked, but they were topped with serrano ham crips, clams and caviar, all presented in clam and razor clam shells, which really brought out the flavour of the scallops.
I was torn between about four different things on the mains menu, but eventually settled on the slow-roast pork belly, served with white polenta, crispy squid and capers. Oh, and a side of fries, because I still think that you can really get a measure of a restaurant by the quality of their fries. The pork belly came out exactly as I hoped it would – nice and crispy on the top, then falling apart in the middle. I also loved the addition of the salty capers and creamy polenta, which balanced the meal really nicely and gave me lots of inspiration for cooking in the future! And, of course, the fries reflected all of this with a crispy yet soft texture and the perfect amount of salt.
Somehow, even after all of this indulgence, we still had a little room for pudding. The dessert menu was small but perfectly formed, offering something for everyone. I was straight in with my order of the chocolate bomb, which I’d picked out days before – you just try and keep me away from a chocolate/peanut butter/banana/salted carmel combo. And it did not disappoint! Much oohing and ahhing (and, obviously, much Boomeranging) ensued as the salted caramel sauce melted the chocolate to reveal the peanut parfait and banana mousse inside. Almost as soon as the post had been uploaded, I had inhaled the whole thing, and I can’t wait to go back for more. I mean, I know I love a dessert, but I would even go as far as to mention the phrase ‘best dessert in Bristol’. Just saying.
Sadly it was then time to take our food babies home, dreaming of peanut butter parfait and googling how to perfectly sear scallops. I’ll definitely be heading back to the Square Kitchen soon though – through the week they have some pretty darn incredible offers on, including 50% off mains on Monday nights. And seriously, just go and try that chocolate bomb. Like, now.