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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Square: Savoury: 1
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2012
There are cookbooks aimed squarely at the "I'm bored of my standard repertoire of week night suppers, and I want some inspiration". Equally, there are cookbooks aimed at "I'm having a dinner party, and I want to make something a bit special". And then there are cookbooks from Michelin starred restaurateurs and restaurants; uber aspirational, requiring a dedication to both acquiring ingredients and time given to cooking the dish that make using from these books not an exercise in cooking, but an exercise in producing a work of art, albeit a copy.

Philip Howard chef and co owner of The Squarefollow, based in Mayfair, London, with two Michelin stars, has launched a cookbook, which has been over 10 years in the writing, the first of a two, subtitled Volume 1: Savoury. The book itself is beautiful, on heavy, shiny paper stock, with each recipe simply but stylishly photographed and then written up over 3 or 4 pages or so. The 526 pages - this is not a small book - are organised into chapters on: basics, amuse-bouches, soups and consommes, salads, from the cold larder, from the hot lader, pasta, risotto, shellfish, fish, meat, and game.

Obviously, cooking food of this type is akin to a military exercise; it's immediately obvious that a brigade of sous chefs (each with a quiver of Japanese knives made by the most obscure cutler imaginable) would be immensely useful. For example, a Roast chicken consomme with stuffed wings, morels and foie gras calls for 32 ingredients, among which are 5 kg of chicken carcasses, 2 whole chickens and 2 chicken breasts.

What this book does illustrate is that at this level, the amount of work that goes into dishes of this quality is immense, and while the cost of a tasting menu at the restaurant (at £110) seems steep, it reflects that work. For those who want to have the time and patience to cook in that way at home, this book will allow you to try your hand at producing food worthy of fine dining. It is a beautiful volume and a must have for anyone interested in food and dining.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 24 August 2013
Been working in kitchens for 15years and like a lot of chefs own many a cook book. Every now and then you find a gem, a book that not only inspires or excites but educates, let me tell you this book is all this and more. Initially, after the first flick through I wasn't that impressed, this pictures of the food seemed a bit bit " rustic " . How wrong was I? After closer examination I found well thought out recipes , really helpful information and insight to the way one of the best chefs in the world thinks ( look out for the purple pages with his views on seasoning, foams and seasons, think Thomas Kellers French Laundry chapters on the importance of salt and France )
Having already bought Essence which it's self is based on a 2 Michelin star restaurant it's really interesting to see the difference in style in both presentation and ingredients and with the greatest respect for David Everitt-Matthias in my opinion Phill Howard's philosophy is more what I like.
Phill Howard lets us into his mind and I love it there, his food is well thought out and it's clear that his focus is purely on taste, flavour and food that is enjoyable to eat.
Already ordered the desert book and can't wait to see what gems that holds,
Honestly this is the first review on anything I have ever done and I hope it inspires to buy this amazing book, into matter what level of catering you are at , you need this book in your life....
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2012
This is a true testament of outstanding and remarkable culinary intelligence rather than a cookbook in the conventional sense.
The recipes come unsimplified from the kitchen of The Square its self... Reminds me of early Roux bros/ Landis no compromising
This isn't a book that the average chef de partie will be reading for a dish of the day. Nor is it a cutting edge Dani Garcia or another publication by the El Bulli boys, this is fantastically executed "classically" based cuisine, you could purchase a copy of Quay or Noma to find your (oh not again) foraged ingredients this is just pure quality,
Any body who watched professional master chef will recall Jason Atherton felling a little uncomfortable having to judge Mr Howard's proven experience...did he make the final? Oh you better believe it!
Sorry now back to the matter in hand..
It is neither a Ramsey/Oliver/ready steady cook type with 30-second recipes or how to use up all the left overs for a family supper in an instant....ererer
This gives a clear and penetrating insight into the creative processes of a hugely talented chef, also into the levels of skill and passion needed to lift a restaurant to the highest level and keep it there. 2 stars for 15 years..Wow
Howard show's fantastic pairing of flavours adding textures and colour, you can see a little Simon Hopkinson some were in there...Another super chef..
The fact that there are 150 in depth recipes accompanied by a fantastic picture of each amazing dish that is in itself a true bench mark of the highest standards of London's fantastic food scene.
I will not mention any of the dishes as you can read that anywhere else....
What I will say is at 40 Pounds its amazing value.
And I cannot wait a year for the sweet edition....
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2012
I've just spent 2 hours with the eagerly awaited, long time delayed but most importantly just delivered 'The Square' restaurant cook book. Phillip Howard, The Square team, and his publishing team have crafted a great book that is a fitting testament to The Square's 21 years existence delivering superb food service after service.

Mr Howard describes his personal history in the introduction and premises each section of the book with his thoughts on what is important. This volume contains only the savoury elements of the 2 Michelin starred The Square's offering yet still weighs in at 500 pages. Pastry to be published at a later date I guess.

The recipes are seasonal, harmonious and make clear sense engaging both my head and stomach. This is not the oxygen depleted terroir of the brilliant Ferran Adria or Grant Achatz et al where special equipment or a long list of hard to come by ingredients is required. The brilliant Mr Howard's cooking and his book occupy a ground to be walked and consulted day after day. It is clearly laid out with excellent descriptions and helpful advice for each recipe. The photography captures each dish well and straightforwardly.

Owning quite a few of the heaving hitting fine dining restaurant books, and taking into account I cook for a living, I would say this book will be used a great deal more than some of the others are. As beautiful as some of the other 2 and 3 Michelin star books are to leaf through and inspire and perhaps grab the odd technique, ingredient or flavour combo The Square book is a book for the kitchen over and above one for the 'coffee table'. The Square's intelligent and sympathetic cooking might be seen as a little too safe by some who prefer high concept and cutting edge technique but the rock solid technique and good sense in The Square's cook book is the foundation of superior cooking anywhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 14 January 2013
Sizeable book, genuine new recipes to try and up our game. I love my baking books but struggle to find anything other than the traditional old school cookery books with any type of advanced cooking, we love our food so I think this will help add to the repertoire
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on 4 July 2015
I have not cooked a single recipe in this book, yet I have learnt a huge amount from it. Mr Howard concisely passes on a lifetime's experience in technique, selection of produce, consideration of flavours, and every other aspect of cooking, all in incredibly, yet surprisingly readable, detail. It's very different to the standard 2-3 Michelin star "food porn" picture books.

I probably sit an read this more than any other cookery book I own, as it is such a mine of information, and gives the clearest look I have seen into what it takes to produce food of the very highest standard. Well written, with lovely photography, I think anyone with a serious interest in cooking, or even eating, first-class food will love this book. The "sweet" volume is of the same standard,
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on 29 March 2013
This book has some amazing restaurant recipes. There are a lot of veloutés and foams, so unless you're prepared to buy a foam gun you'll be limited with what you can copy. I have bought one - cream suppliers.co.uk am looking forward to amazing friends/family when I've mastered using it. Have ordered the Sweet book due for release in June so guess I'm impressed with this book. Love Phil Howard, so he can do little wrong in my eyes.
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on 28 April 2013
Having had the pleasure of experiencing the tasting menu a couple of years ago, I think this book is testament to the fantastic standards of this top class London restaurant.

Be warned that many of the recipes do require much preparation in advance - for example parts of the dish may have to be made the day before due to the complexity of the dishes.
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on 4 August 2014
Really great cookery book. Well presented in hard back with lovely photos throughout. Some really delicious recipes inside and some very straightforward instructions to achieve great results. Also includes plenty of really interesting background info. Definitely a new favourite recipe book for me!
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on 14 February 2013
I have shelves full of cook books, none of which inspire me the way this has. A beautifully crafted, well thought out, detailed cook book; authored by one of the best Chef's in the world.

Put your hairy bikers books down, it's time to learn how to really cook.
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