As I was preparing to write this latest review for Bar + Block, King’s Cross, I was at a press dinner elsewhere when a fellow restaurant reviewer was informing me of such a terrible venue she had visited recently in which she’s refused to write about the restaurant. Surprise, surprise, she was referring to Bar + Block.
Yes it is situated inside a Premier Inn. Yes it is owned by Whitbread (their Birmingham branch has the beefeater prefix). Yes it is a chain. However, I think we need to take a step back, as it doesn’t promise extravagant exotic cuisine or expensive cuts of beef like USDA beef etc. It is about offering consistent delivery from breakfast to dinner and offering cuisine that caters for a wide range of taste.
The menu doesn’t exactly shout innovation, but there are items you might not see regularly such as beef empanadas unless you were at a South American restaurant. We went for the seafood extravaganza of garlic king prawns and mixed seafood pot. The prawns were fresh and perky and especially well-flavoured with simple white wine, garlic and butter. By comparison the other seafood became a tad tasteless especially the clams and mussels.
We tried both the sirloin and their special spiral cut fillet. The latter is a unique creation produced by spiral cutting the fillet and then marinating the meat in garlic and parsley to inject the meat with extra flavours. The meat is undeniably tender, but the version without extra marination did taste slightly bland if you don’t soak the meat in extra sauce. Thankfully they have a fine selection of rich sauces for consideration: the béarnaise and prawn & lobster sauces were great accompaniments. The chunky chips, which were offered with the steaks could have been more crispy.
Apart from classic British desserts like sticky toffee pudding, they also have South American traditional offerings like churros. Both options were executed with assurance: the toffee pudding was moist with a large dollop of honeycomb ice cream whilst the churros had generous sprinkling of cinnamon sugar and tasted freshly crispy.
A meal at Bar + Block won’t invoke any giddy sense of excitement, but it is the dependable restaurant we all need to visit on occasions for comfort food.