Bar + Block Steakhouse - Bath
Bar + Block's culinary journey began in Birmingham in March 2016. This contemporary steakhouse restaurant brand was launched by Whitbread, the UK’s largest hotel, restaurant and coffee shop operator, responsible for bringing us other brands including Costa, Premier Inn, Beefeater and Brewers Fayre. Whitbread are beginning to grow Bar + Block into a small chain of restaurants. They have already opened additional branches in Kings Cross, London and Whiteley, and now, its latest launch brings it to the city of Bath.
Having opened its doors this autumn on James Street West, Bar + Block resides next door to Premier Inn Bath City Centre (you can access the restaurant through the hotel lobby).
The restaurant features a large open kitchen, an eye-catching central bar, trendy interior fixtures and fittings; exposed brick walls, brightly coloured wall tiles and exposed timber cladding, booth seating areas, a neon art installation and shiny copper lights.
As we took our seats by the window, our friendly attentive waitress, Paula, presented us with a tub of popcorn coated in beef seasoning.
Whilst tucking in, the restaurant's duty manager, Steve, popped over to our table (no pun intended, honest :/) to inform us that the popcorn is cooked on-site, which explains the popcorn machine we spotted on the way in!
Our Sunday lunch at Bar + Block began with a 'Gin Smash' (£6.99) and a 'Mitango' (£3.50). A firm lover of gin, I enjoyed the fresh, zingy cocktail which consisted of Gordon's Gin with elderflower, lime and mint, topped with cloudy apple juice.
The menu offers 'Grazing Plates' designed for customers to mix and match two or three plates to share as a starter. We chose 'Burnt Ends' (£4.95) and 'Cheese and Jalapeno Stuffed Dippers' (£3.95). The spicy, caramelised and smoky beef brisket pieces were well seasoned.
The deep-fried cheese and jalapeno stuffed dippers were perfectly puffy and golden.
With a sizzling selection of steaks on the menu, Scott opted for an 8oz fillet (£20.95) for his main, which came with the choice of house salad or beef dripping triple cooked chunky chips. It had to be steak and chips... A match made in heaven.
Their beef comes from 'British breeds of cattle reared across the Pampas in South America." These cuts are "aged for a minimum of 28 days" and all the steak options on the menu are hand cut to order. Scott's fillet steak, whilst good, wasn't quite as flavoursome and tender as other steaks we have tried in Bath in the same price bracket.
However, we both remarked that with the restaurant's current voucher offers, which we have received through our letterbox at home and also at the end of our meal (2 for 1 on steaks), it seems a very reasonable deal.
The menu isn't just focused on steak though. Diners can choose from British classics, a variety of gourmet burgers ground on-site, fresh salads and a selection of puddings too. As we were dining on a Sunday, I felt it apt to try their 'Sunday Best' (£13.50 per person). I was forewarned that this dish is for a minimum of two people, but they were happy to cut down the portion sizes so that I could sample it. Still appeared to be a mighty portion though!
Served with all the trimmings; sliced picanha*, a Yorkshire pudding, crispy beef dripping roast potatoes, crunchy carrots, parsnips, delicious cheesy cauliflower, seasonal greens and a rich gravy.
*"Picanha is a speciality South American cut which comes from the top cap of the rump and is full of flavour."
The Sunday roast is great value for the quantity and quality of food I enjoyed.
On to one peppermint tea and a latte. Now I will confess that I rarely buy from chain coffee shops unless I'm at the airport. I am not being a coffee snob, but Bath is home to so many fantastic independents who serve great coffees. So just to let you know that, as Bar + Block is part of the Whitbread family of brands, you can expect a Costa coffee from the menu.
Now to accompany our hot drinks, we opted for the 'Churros Sundae' (£5.95). Wow!
Two large churros coated in cinnamon sugar, served with vanilla ice cream, chocolate and honeycomb ice cream, brownie chunks, cream and chocolate toffee sauce. After the 'Sunday Best', you'd be gutsy to go it alone and order one for yourself, as there was certainly more than enough there for us both to share. It was amazing and naughty all at once!
In conclusion, the food was tasty and we could not fault the service; the team were welcoming and knowledgeable on the menu - a special thanks to Paula and Steve. In addition, the location of the restaurant is great, especially if you are staying at the Premier Inn, have enjoyed a movie at the nearby Odeon, or worked up an appetite after a session at Fitness First!
Thank you to Bar + Block and Roche Communications for inviting me to review the newly opened restaurant.
Don't forget to visit the restaurant's website for more information and to view the menus.