The Square Kitchen must have blown their marketing budget this month on inviting half a dozen bloggers to dine at the restaurant. Not many people are able to turn down the offer of free food, but to paraphrase an old adage, there’s no such thing as a free tasting menu, so it is expected that once the diner has (hopefully) enjoyed their meal, they will write about it in their blog.
What The Square were probably not expecting was venison being compared to a “turd”, service being universally criticised and one table of four all refusing to eat their snails because they are “slimy cabbage munching beasts”.
To use another well-worn phrase, those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, and I was also invited to sample the new menu. I went as the guest of another blogger, Jo, writer of Ephemeral Digest, although we barely exchanged a word as we both took turns to follow our 19-month-old daughter around the restaurant.
Most of the bloggers documented their meals in immaculate course-by-course detail.
Bristol Bites proclaimed the pea and ham soup to be the best she has ever tasted, but was confused by the spicy mini meringues, and further confused by the wine flight:
“We were a little confused that the first of the wines was brought out with the first course rather than the second – which it had been matched with – and that we had no explanation as to what the wine was and why it had been chosen.”
It was Wuthering Bites who compared venison to poo:
“I really want to say good things about this dish, but it really did just look like a section of my back garden – the vension kinda like a turd in the corner. Although a bit mean, that is what i thought it looked like on instant, and i can’t lie about that!”
Bristol Eating Adventures and her table of four all refused to eat the snails. Not particularly adventurous then.
“Snails are not something that most people would want to eat so, anyone who says otherwise has to be lying, so putting them on a menu is a massive risk… As I picked (a shell) up the snail fell out, I shuddered inwardly, and squeaked outwardly.”
It’s Just Nice were thrilled just to be invited (“it meant that people are actually reading It’s Just Nice, and not just our mums! And that…is very exciting!”) and wrote a gushing review of the scallops:
“Scallops, oh how I love you so- you’re so yummy and juicy… 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.”
Ephemeral Digest was not the only blogger to comment on the savoury Battenburg, made with ham hock, duck confit and foie gras.
“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.”
If all publicity is good publicity, then The Square must be thrilled. But I can’t help but think that inviting Bristol’s bloggers to review their food is an experiment that they will not be repeating.