A few night ago, on a humid and steamy evening in Bristol, Alex and I caught up after a few weeks apart to natter all things wedding-related (don’t ya know she’s engaged?!) over a three course dinner at The Square Club in Clifton.
The Square Club is tucked off the freaking steep, never-ending Park Street, by the quiet leafy Berkeley Square. This area is hidden from the bustle of Bristol commuters and shoppers, and the restaurant is set in a historic 18th-century Georgian building that’s both grand and gorgeous. The Square Club is attached to the boutique Berkeley Square Hotel – one of the best boutique hotels in the UK for under £100 (fifth according to the Guardian).
As soon as you enter The Square Club, the design and strong arty feel immediately makes you take note that it’s a pretty hip place to dine. With ornate candelabras lighting the tables (reminded us of Lumiere from Beauty & the Beast!), huge gilded mirrors on the bare brick walls, and funky graffiti pieces by internationally recognised artists hanging in the corners, it clearly isn’t your average hotel restaurant.
We’re big fans of decadent and stylish furnishings, so the velvet couches and sofas were a big thumbs up from us! We grabbed a window table and proceeded to order some glasses of fizz to toast to Alex’s engagement and an evening of delish food over wedding chats. What’s a Wednesday without a little Prosecco pick-me-up?
We had heard great things about the menu at The Square Club. Kyle Jordaan heads The Square Kitchen and adjusts the flavours and locally-sourced ingredients to reflect the changing seasons. Specialising in British and European dishes, we were immediately sold on the inventive seafood affairs and plates packed full of produce from the West Country. Love to support our locals!
Our waitress was superb and artfully juggled looking after the dining room, plus hotel guests who were chilling in the neighbouring room. Our glasses never went dry, and our food came out promptly with a smile…. so let’s get down to business – what the heck did we eat?!
Review: An evening at The Square Club, Bristol
For starters, Alex went for her beloved Cerviche (£8) – a dish she’ll always pick whenever she gets the chance. The Monkish Cerviche was adorned with avocado, mango and caper berries with a fragrant chilli and coriander salsa.
I went for the goats curd and chive mousse (£7) which was zinging with spring onion! Dip your ciabatta toast slivers into the mousse with a dash of the apple and elderflower jelly, and it’s a heavenly myriad of flavours… but pace yourself. it’s a heavy starter and there was more fun to come!
For main, again Alex stuck to her beloved seafood theme and went for grilled sea trout with squid ink tagliatelle (£17.50). With muscles galore, cockles and a single good-looking king prawn balanced atop the seafood extravaganza under a charred baby leek blanket, it was brill. Alex isn’t normally a pasta fan, but the tagliatelle was just the right amount – it definitely wasn’t used purely to bulk up the dish and wasn’t too stodgy. Every flavour had been carefully considered – nothing was there purely for decorative effect. The ingredients came together in holy matrimony…
I went for the pan roasted lamb from Wraxall (Somerset) with a herb crust and truffle gnocchi (£19) – I need to make sure you understand how good the gnocchi was though. The earthy taste of the soft pasta was absolutely sublime, so whilst the lamb was slightly on the dry side (not what I’d call medium-rare), the gnocchi blew my socks off and made up for it. The flavours of the herbs, lack garlic puree and the jus really worked wonders – 10 points for the flavours! And of course the presentation was impeccable. Such care was taken, down to the arranged scattering of orange mushrooms.
We also shared a hearty side of grilled courgettes (£3.50) which was overflowing with a topping of crispy onion, but couldn’t get through it all. Our eyes were a bit big for our bellies, but the courgettes were so fresh (if a little lacking in flavour), we couldn’t help cramming in these veggies.
I polished off my lamb, practically mopping up the sauces with my fork (such a lady)… and we then finished off our dining with a light dessert. We both opted for the mango parfait with coconut sorbet (£6). A refreshing finish to the powerful flavours of the other dishes – the coconut sorbet revitalised our palate whilst the chocolate pieces satisfied our everlasting sweet tooth. We’re not fans of sickly sweet or heavy desserts, so this was the perfect way to finish a three-course dinner. Again, presentation was top-notch and we finally loosened our belts and called it a day. A very successfully filling day!
And since weddings were an obvious theme for our evening (you’d be amazed how much Alex has already booked and organised within a month), it’s pretty fitting to mention that you can hire The Square Club venue for your wedding. It’s fully licensed for weddings and civil ceremonies, so could be the perfect option for your special day? It will be if you opt for their dining options.
The Square Club is smart and funky in both decor and dishes – not at all stuffy and boring like usual dining areas of hotels, so take note hotel owners. It’s time to upp your game with your dining options and take a leaf out of Chef Jordaan’s cookbook. The restaurant is open to non-residents of the hotel so be sure to book ahead of time, especially on the weekends. Cop an eyeful of their menu, and plan your feast.
May thanks to The Square Club for hosting us both and feeding us within an inch of our lives. It’s fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere, and you won’t be disappointed by the magical team in the kitchen. Bon appetit!
Many thanks to The Square Club for hosting us – we were provided with a 3-course complimentary dinner. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own.