Recently Alan and I went out on our own on a Friday night in Bath. Yes, we had an actual date, which is has been a carry forward on far too many of my monthly goals posts in the past… And we were lucky enough to be asked to dine at Bar + Block Steakhouse in Bath* to boot. I can’t tell you how just much we were both looking forward to that evening, so without further ado, let’s see what we thought.
Bar + Block
Bar + Block Steakhouse in Bath has been open for just over a year, keeping company with sister restaurants in London, Birmingham, Hampshire and – most recently – in Nottingham. The chain is owned by the Whitbread Group and, as you can probably deduce from the title, specialises in steak.
What makes Bar + Block unlike any other steakhouse I’ve eaten in is the way they treat their beef. It comes from British breeds of cattle reared across the Pampas in South America. But instead of buying pre-cut steaks, Bar + Block have the whole carcasses brought back and aged for a minimum of 28 days. They are then hand-cut on site, so you can have whatever type of steak you want and as big as you want it – 8oz right up to 20oz if you could manage it! Fresh carcasses are delivered three times a week, and fresh fish and vegetables are delivered daily.
The Main Menu is available 11:30am – 10pm, an Express Lunch menu between 11.30am – 5pm weekdays, they open for breakfast at 6.30am, and Flora will be delighted to see that, thanks to the chain’s USP on beef, the Kids Menu offers steak as an option as well as the usual chicken and pasta fare.
Bar + Block Bath
Our waitress, Lucy, showed us to our table and left us with the most delicious beef-flavoured popcorn to munch on while we browsed the Main Menu for our starters and mains.
Of course we were both going to have steak, I mean, how could we not after hearing all about the provenance? Rather than cocktails (of which there are many intriguing sounding ones, including both a Popcorn and a Candy Floss Martini!), we opted for a bottle of wine. As a rule I don’t drink red wine because it doesn’t agree with me. But you can’t really have white wine with steak, can you? Lucy recommended a gorgeous Argentinian Malbec, which was sooooo smooth and delicious, I think I’m going to convert back to red again, at least when dining out.
I adore scallops and my Atlantic scallops cooked over charcoal in garlic butter and chorizo, topped with samphire were absolutely gorgeous. Tender and juicy, with not too much chorizo. And the samphire was slightly salty and crunchy, a lovely garnish.
Alan opted for Crispy Salt and Pepper Squid mixed with chilli and garlic, served with lemon and garlic mayo and a wedge of lemon. These had just the right amount of batter – it’s easy to over do it, I think, but not here. And the chilli gave a lovely little kick too
Fillet steak is my all time favourite cut so it was an easy choice to make. I went for a medium rare 10oz Fillet with a light oil-based Chimichurri sauce, as suggested by Lucy (I’m not keen on creamy sauces). The fillet was so tender, my knife just slid through it with no effort at all. And the accompanying beef dripping triple cooked chunky chips were absolutely dreamy. It may sound odd but chips can really make or break a meal for me – these were crunchy on the outside but meltingly soft on the inside, exactly how I love them.
As well as all the steaks, burgers, lamb, pork, fish, and a few vegetarian options, Bar + Block offer a Butcher’s Block special too. On this occasion it was 10oz chargrilled Picanha steak topped with Chimichurri (Picahna is a speciality South American cut which comes from the top cap of the rump). It came with those fabulous beef dripping chips, and a salad wedge (y’know, to be healthy) topped with blue cheese and crispy oak smoked dry cured streaky bacon. No prizes for guessing what Alan went for… and he polished off almost everything!
I was so spoilt for choice on the pudding menu. I could have had brownies, cheesecake or sticky toffee pudding but in the end I went for the Chocolate Churros Sundae because – shocker – I’ve never tried churros before. Oh my. Just look at what I feasted on: two cinnamon sugar coated churros, served with vanilla ice cream, salted caramel ice cream, brownie chunks, cream and chocolate toffee sauce. YUM. Alan went for a far healthier but (so he said) extremely delicious Fruit Salad featuring a mix of strawberries, grapes, apple, melon, mango and pineapple topped with coconut sorbet.
A very welcome Americano coffee and Earl Grey tea ended our meal nicely. We took our time over pudding and finishing off our wine and, although it was a Friday night and the restaurant was filling up, at no stage were we made to feel that we should hurry up. All the staff, especially Lucy, were lovely and accommodating, even when I was wandering around taking photos and – undoubtedly – getting in their way.
We didn’t want our evening to end so we repaired to the bar for a couple more glasses of that lovely Malbec, which were also, very kindly, on the house. It’s been a very long time since Alan and I have (a) been out on a proper date and (b) had such a fabulous meal.
If you’re looking for the perfect restaurant that caters for office workers, couples, families, small groups, and parties – and is ideally located, right next to Bath’s Odeon cinema too – I think Bar + Block will take some beating. There is honestly nothing I can criticise about the food, the service, and the atmosphere. We had a truly lovely evening and I’m so grateful to have been invited to sample their Spring/Summer menu. We will be back for sure – and this time with Flora too!
* I was asked to review Bar + Block in Bath but all opinions are my own and this is an honest, unbiased review.