I was invited down to Bar + Block, the new steakhouse that’s opened up at the top of Maid Marian Way, on the roundabout and underneath Premier Inn.
It’s part of the Whitbread Group who own brands such as Premier Inn, Beefeater and Costa. I didn’t actually realise this until I did a bit of research the day I was due to go down, their branding from the outside is quite prominent and they look pretty upmarket – I genuinely thought it was an independent chain until I read up about them.
First Impressions of Bar and Block
It makes a statement on the roundabout, you can’t miss it and it’s easy to find. As soon as you enter you notice the interior has had a significant amount of money spent on it.
It looks like a chain restaurant inside, that’s not a negative thing, it’s just that you can tell there are other restaurants which would look like this elsewhere. I wasn’t after originality though so I was happy, it was clean, smart and welcoming.
As soon as we sat down we ordered a bottle of wine and were given complimentary beef popcorn. This stuff was so good. I thought it was going to be a bit random but the flavour really worked and I would happily buy some at the cinema if it was an option!
We ate the popcorn whilst we decided what to have, we knew we were going for a full 3 courses, to ensure we got a proper feel for the food. My eyes went straight for the crispy beef and my boyfriend headed for the tandoori chicken wings.
The beef was tossed in hoisin, cucumber, chilli and and the wings were cooked on charcoal and topped with coriander. The wings were an interesting flavour, similar to the popcorn, they’ve found something a little bit different that works. The tandoori aspect gave you the feeling that you were eating a starter within an Indian. They were really good.
The crispy beef is a go to for me when I order a Chinese so I knew roughly what to expect. The portion that I got was huge and sprinkled with a lot of chillis. The beef was very thin which made it super crispy, if you’re expecting a bit more chewing (like in a Chinese) then you won’t get that. The dish is packed full of flavour and I really enjoyed it – even if I did blow my head off by thinking it was a good idea to eat two chillis at once.
For main I opted for the butcher’s block which was advertised on the table. It changes every now and again so you may get a different special to what I had. My choice was a 10oz sirloin rubbed in garlic and chilli, smoky beans with smoked bacon, slow cooked pulled pork brisket, rocket and lemon. I ordered it medium as I’ve found that when I order medium-rare it’s a little too bloody for me.
I’m unsure if the photos do this justice because of the lighting but from my perspective it was cooked just how I wanted. Cooked around the outside and very pink in the middle. My steak had a ribbon of fat on the top but this is to be expected with a sirloin, so I am told. It was sat on a bed of pork brisket which was sweet and complimented the savoury nature of the steak and the pepper of the rocket. I was pretty impressed.
My boyfriend opted for the surf and turf option as (his reasoning) he didn’t have any fish on his starter! This was an 8oz sirloin, giant king prawn cooked in garlic and samphire, he ordered his medium-rare. The most impressive aspect of the dish for him was the size of the prawn, which was essentially the same size as his steak. The meat was tender and with less fat than my cut but still cooked exactly how he wanted it.
We were stuffed by this point but I had my eyes on the chocolate brownie so I knew I had to give it a minute. I asked the waitress to give us 15 and we’ll be able to fit some more in. This also gave us a chance to finish the wine before heading into dessert territory.
Oh gosh, the chocolate brownie was incredible. If you’re a fan of chocolate then you have to have this. It’s triple chocolate brownie served warm and topped with toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream plus it has little pots of melted chocolate inside when you cut into it. It’s sugary, chocolatey heaven.
My boyfriend opted for the savoury option of a cheese block. This was a little different as in addition to the trio of cheese (cheddar, brie and stilton) it was served with honey, apple and toasted bread. My boyfriend absolutely loved this twist and didn’t understand why he’d never had it before. The butter that came on the side was pretty useless as it had one of my pet hates, it had been in the fridge so ripped the bread to shreds. Regardless, every bit of the dessert was eaten and he was a very happy bunny.
It was really good and I don’t think it was just because they knew I was a food blogger. We had one waitress who was friendly, had a bit of conversation and was great at recommending dishes. The manager popped over twice throughout the meal (this was because of the food blog) but he was also casual and had a general conversation, it was all very chilled and relaxed. It gave me the impression that the staff were very experienced as there was no flapping or panicking.
bar and block RATING: 9/10
£83.75 for 2 people / £41.85pp for 3 courses and a bottle of wine.
I would definitely go back. It is expensive and there’s no getting around that but there was nothing that I ate that I didn’t enjoy. The venue is clean, has a really good atmosphere and has some great staff. If you were to go for a 2 course rather than 3 you’re probably looking at £35pp. I would go here any day of the week over Miller and Carter (the one everyone raves about).
Recommended for: couples, date night, special occasions
Not recommended for: cheap night, families (a bit more upmarket)
Why not try: the Butcher’s Block that’s on offer
Please let me know your opinions on this blog post (I love feedback) in the comments or follow me on: [social_warfare buttons=”Facebook, Twitter”] Love for you all x