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Tucked-away Cantonese Gourmet in the Heart of Town.

This month, CityLife reconnects with The Square at Exchange Square, one of the city’s finer Cantonese restaurants, to try out its brand-new menu. 
We are long familiar with The Square, a fine-dining Cantonese restaurant located at Exchange Square. The restaurant garnered a Michelin star for seven years in a row a few years back and holds a reputation as one of the better Cantonese restaurants in town. Yet, tucked away on the mezzanine floor of Exchange Square lobby, it is easy to miss. Since it had been some time since our last visit, we were keen to reconnect with The Square with the announcement of its offering of a brand-new menu. 
The Square occupies one half of the mezzanine floor of the Exchange Square Podium, a deceptively large space. The spacious dining area, which follows the curvy layout of the mezzanine, is comfortably and cleanly decked out. The tables by the open-air balustrade offer an engaging view of the expansive podium below. 
For our dinner, we chose from several of the chef’s recommended dishes. For the new menu, the seasoned chefs at The Square aim to combine traditional refined Cantonese cooking with modern sensibilities, so to speak. That means creating dishes that make inventive and flexible use of ingredients while upholding the core Cantonese cooking methods. 
We started our dinner with a selection of appetisers: Braised Sliced Chinese Zucchini in Pumpkin Sauce ($138), Deep-fried Eggplant with Salted Egg Yolk and Pork Floss ($88) and Chau. We quite like the slightly crunchy texture of the zucchini and the savoury flavour of the egg yolk with the eggplant. 
Steamed Seabass in Salted Potherb Mustard ($398) is excellent. The seabass bites tender and melts in the mouth. Next was Barbecued Mangalica Pork ($398) a Hungarian pig known for its strong and juicy taste. The meat is prepared char siu–style, complete with a final smoking to enhance the flavour of the sweetly tender and succulent meat. 
Fish Maw Soup with Crab Meat ($198) followed. Soup is always a reliable benchmark of Cantonese cooking prowess and this one passed muster handsomely. The combination of fish maw and crab meat is a creative take, and we like its rich and umami flavour.
Another special dish awaits – Pan-fried Japanese Sea Cucumber Stuffed with Minced Pork and Shrimp Served with Rock Rice ($248). This dish was new to us, and what a delight! Its presentation is exquisite, and the preparation is meticulous. The tasty pork and shrimp stuffing contrasts well with the sea cucumber and its broth. The rock rice enjoys similar texture to glutinous rice but is less chewy – we liked it. 
Our final dish, Braised Rice Vermicelli with Spanish Shrimp ($128), is another imaginative creation in which the strong prawn flavour nicely takes control of the blander vermicelli. We finished the dinner with a well-chosen fruit platter. 
We should note that The Square still serves excellent dim sum during lunch. We were impressed with the menu though – well-crafted dishes, inventive and bold use of new ingredients, and still distinctively Cantonese cooking. If you want a special Cantonese fine-dining experience, we highly recommend giving it a try. 
Address: Shop 402, 4/F, Exchange Square II, 8 Connaught Road, Central, Hong Kong
Tel: 2525 1163


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