Bar + Block is a modern yet homely restaurant in the heart of Brum’s business district. I had heard good things about the food, so a chance to review was greeted without hesitation.
Upon entering the restaurant there has been a minimal yet warm, stylish approach to decor. Light wood paneling frames the exposed brick walls with ample yet unfussy lighting. The interior is comfy with a slightly New York feel. It’s a great location, with passers-by hinting at the city centre bustle outside, which you notice through the large plate glass windows.
On this occasion we were about thirty minutes late due to city centre traffic, but this wasn’t a problem for the staff. Tables were beginning to fill up, but the restaurant seemed to maintain a very relaxed and informal atmosphere.
I opted for a tasty pint of real ale to begin with, and a member of staff brought out small buckets of popcorn coated in beef dripping for every table, which were a great choice to get the appetite going.
Haydn, our waiter for the evening, sat us at our table and brought over our colourful and perfectly poured cocktails, Chambord Royale and a Havana Mojito.
We were not rushed on ordering, the menu was described with specials and various delicious sounding combinations, then we were left to make our choices.
Chicken Wings with Raspberry Chipotle Sauce
To begin, we shared a large plate of Chicken Wings with Raspberry.
These were crispy and coated with a slightly spicyTabasco raspberry chipotle sauce, served with sour cream dip. They arrived piping hot!
You could really taste the raspberry and although this may sound an unusual marriage it worked extremely well, so much so we were fighting over the last piece. The chicken tasted soft and succulent beneath too.
Our sticky fingers were taken care of with the fragrant wet wipes thoughtfully placed to the side of our plates, a good job as it was a messy affair.
Butcher’s Block & Market Fish of the Day
For my main, I chose the Brisket of Beef with a spicy BBQ sauce from the Butcher’s Block (which always offers a special cut of the day). The beef comes from British breeds of cattle reared across the Pampas in South America. This arrived with beef dripping chunky chips, no messing around here.
The beef was soft and tender, easy to cut and almost melted in the mouth. You then had the zing from the BBQ sauce, I polished this off before starting on the chips, which again, were superb. It was just the right amount without being gluttonous and left enough room for the dessert.
My friend honed in on the Market Fish of the Day, Plaice with a lemon & caper sauce. Haydn explained before hand it was a whole fish, head, tail and bones. This was fine and a nice touch to let us know, as some people really prefer fillet. I am told the fish tasted most fresh and the sauce complimented it very well, not a morsel was left on either plate.
Triple Chocolate Brownie & Lemon Sorbet Tart
By the end of the main course, although well satisfied we both realised there was plenty of room for the desserts. After a quick scan, Haydn reappeared took our order and within minutes we were tucking in.
A Triple Chocolate Brownie served warm with chunks of chocolate, topped with chocolate toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream was rich and filling, and what an awesome combination. This we shared between us and it melted into a mess which was virtually licked clean off the plate.
Our other choice, the Lemon Sorbet Tart offered a fresh, light taste, to top off a perfect evening of food and drink in a relaxing tasteful environment. This is one restaurant I would highly recommend and one which I am sure I will return to.
Review by Nick Byng for Grapevine Birmingham.