Squares is a Stonegate Pub Company bar on two levels situated very centrally on Poultry in Nottingham. It has a relaxed atmosphere during the day with big screens for sports and in the evening it gets livelier and accepts party bookings.
I have been here a lot over the last decade or so when other places have been too busy and it’s consistently on a par with the likes of Wetherspoons for its food. There is a food offer on each weekday – big plate specials on ‘Mighty Monday’, burgers and drinks on Tuesday, Pie and a Pint on Wednesdays, Grill and a drink on Thursdays and best of British classics and a drink on Fridays – all for less than £6 each.
The last time we visited I came in search of a Caesar salad only to find that it was no longer on the menu. We sat upstairs on a table overlooking the tramlines looking down on the various types of people that populate the city and, given recent events in France and Germany, I felt rather protective of them all.
I eyed up the burgers, the pic ‘n’ mix planks and the various pub standards and then we decided to take advantage of the 2 meals for £8.99 deal they had on. We added a couple of upgrades on for not very much quidage. I opted for fish and chips (upgrading to cod instead of the unnamed fish) and Siggy had the mac n cheese (with added pulled pork).
Fish and chips are great when done well, but they are so often not done well as pub meals – either being embellished beyond the basics as to be unrecognizable or failing to even get the basics right.
Squares got everything right for me and it was one of the better fish and chip meals I have had. It also tasted better with the knowledge that I wasn’t paying over the odds for it.
All the components were tasty and had not been ‘fiddled’ with at all. The chips were bog standard and boring in comparison to recent Greek chips but the fish was coated with a tasty and crispy thin beer batter. There was a good amount of hot mushy peas – this was good because air con where we were sitting was a bit cold.
As standard on the table was Heinz ketchup and Aspall golden malt vinegar. Aspall has been going since the early eighteenth century and is still owned by the same family. Aspall golden malt vinegar is made from 100% malted barley and has no artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives added. I’m not a connoisseur and so sprinkled it liberally on my fish and chips and thought nothing more of it.
The tartar sauce obviously wasn’t prepared in the kitchen but it had a decent amount of capers in it and a good strong flavour to compliment the fish.
Siggy’s Mac n cheese with pulled pork had a good amount of cheese with good ratios of ingredients. It wasn’t too greasy and the pasta was cooked well but not to the point of being mushy. Siggy told me it’s the best mac n cheese she has had for a while. I had a mouthful and found that the pulled pork had a bbq coating that helped to lift the dish from just being a large proportioned side. The scrappy side salad didn’t add anything and was left untouched.
The menu included a 2-for-1 offer on desserts all priced at £4.99 and featuring such delights as cookie cup explosion, black forest brownie cheesecake and toffee apple crumble. But for once I wasn’t overly hungry so we left off having a pud.
Looking around I could see some good looking burgers coming out of the kitchen and also the Saturday sharing platter was very well-proportioned and popular.
If you want something cheap and cheerful in Nottingham with pleasant service and relaxed big-pub style surroundings then Squares is the place to be.