Date of review: December 22, 2011 | Reviewed by:
The Square gets by quietly as a restaurant of substance and quality. While not everybody has heard of this Cantonese restaurant in Exchange Square, the dining room is packed daily for lunch and dinner. The reason is simply down to an excellent menu that is executed to a high standard. There is strength in tradition combined with just a hint of original flair. Its location (surprisingly camouflaged) inside Exchange Square combined with a very simple decor is uninspiring. However, it hardly matters. Diners who have found The Square come to eat here for one reason alone: the food is ambitious and consistently delicious.
Restaurants are often at their best for dinner, but consistency at The Square is a hallmark of success. As such, lunch can be an event in itself especially with an excellent dim sum menu. Among the signature creations, the steamed lobster dumpling (HK$58 per piece) is a can’t-miss bite of crustacean heaven. Steamed whole abalone dumpling (HK$40 per piece) is almost worthy of kaiseki – a tiny, delicate abalone dripping with sauce sitting atop a beautiful crystal-skin dumpling. And jumbo shrimp, pork, chicken and asparagus spring rolls (HK$58 for four pieces) come awesomely oversized to create a triumph of taste and texture. Of course, larger dishes cannot be ignored at The Square. Top of the signature list is sautéed lobster balls with crab meat and crab roe sauce (HK$298), a mixture of lobster sweetness with rich, creamy roe melded together with a gentle sauté. Golden crispy prawns with tangerine sauce (HK$168) is a dish that is fun to eat, with battered and deep-fried prawns balanced out from the zing provided by a zesty peel syrup. For those who enjoy the natural sweetness of fine seafood, fresh crab claw with bamboo pith in clear soup (HK$98) is not to be missed. A whole fresh crab claw sits in a refined, clear broth bursting with natural flavour.
Wines by the glass are scarce – one for red and one for white with no details attached. Yet both were surprisingly good wines. The rest of the wine list is not extensive but there is some choice in producers and geography. The Square also carries a good list of premium Chinese tea.
Service is efficient like a well-oiled machine. You’ll hardly notice your servers as they float by with the job at hand. The Square is just friendly enough for it to be a non-issue, but the food is really all that matters here.
A simple dinner for two without wine will cost about HK$600, which is quite reasonable. This can rise if you order expensive seafood, but the overall quality of food here plays a huge part. No matter what you end up ordering and paying, chances are that it is good value.