We was recently invited over to a steakhouse restaurant called Bar + Block, located a 5 minute walk from Aldgate East tube station or a 12 minute walk from London Liverpool Street. 

Bar + Block shares its restaurant with the hotel next door, so is very big inside and goes way back to accommodate for all customers. It has an industrial and cosy interior with many booths available to sit in; as well as plenty of seating available on wooden tables with velvet tub chairs.  Warmly lit and individual lamps on the booths made it very convenient for photos.

Upon arrival at 5pm, we was greeted by the manager who seated us at a booth in the middle of the restaurant behind the bar. He introduced us to a waiter called Adrian who hosted us all night. It was a great place to sit at as it allowed me to take photographs and have a look at the interior of the restaurant. It was really quiet at the time, but things soon picked up by 6pm.

We was handed menus and some popcorn to nibble on which tasted salty. However, we later found out (because we asked) that the popcorn had beef flavouring on it. I do think this should have been disclaimed when it was brought over to us incase either of us was vegetarian or vegan.

For starters, we ordered a selection of 'nibbles' and starters from the extensive menu which has plenty to offer for diners. I was particularly intrigued to try the Crispy Gnocchi Bites (£3.25). These arrived in a generous sized portion for a 'nibble' and tasted ok, but did become quite bland after two or three. It would be great to see them presented with a tomato salsa to dip or Bolognese sauce to dip into.

Ricky ordered the Salt & Pepper Squid (£6.50), which again was a generous size portion. Crispy with chilli and garlic and arriving with a lemon wedge and a pot of lemon and garlic mayo. They were quite satisfying and thoroughly enjoyed.

I was also intrigued to try the vegan Trio of Dips (£4.50). I particularly love Moroccan food, so do love these sorts of food. The trio contains a home made houmous,  mixed tomato salsa, carrot and harissa and some toasted tortillas. The texture of the houmous was thick and lumpy - almost porridge like. It tasted fresh and was topped off even more with the carrot and harissa dip. You could really taste the coriander and all three dips tasted delicious when dipped into with the toasted tortillas.

We thought it would be silly to visit a steakhouse and not order steak for main. Therefore, we decided to choose different steaks each on the menu and compare them both - aswell as compare them to other steaks we love to order. Bar + Block's classic cuts come from British cattle reared across South America. They are marinated for 28 days and hand cut on site, so you can literally request how big you want your steak to be!

Within a few minutes of finishing our starters, our table was cleared by Adrian and he asked if he could bring out the mains - rather than asking if we was ready for mains. We said okay, but agreed that we both felt very rushed to finish one course and start another. It is much more comfortable when a table is cleared within a reasonable time and the next course brought out 10-15 minutes after the previous dish.

I ordered the 10oz Churrasco de Chorizo steak (£23.95) - a spiral cut sirloin, marinated in parsley and garlic and served with Samphire and beef dripping triple cooked chips or salad.

 I always ask for beef to be cooked Medium when ordering steaks or burgers, but was unsure about it when it arrived a little pink than I have normally seen when ordering steak.  It was so soft and succulent though, so did cut off the bone nicely with hardly an effort needed. All in all, it did taste really nice, but I did have to leave some bits that were just a little too pink for my liking.

I was also unsure how marinated the steak would be and I would have been gutted if it was dry, so I did order a peppercorn sauce. Unfortunately, this was stone cold when it arrived and had gathered a film on top of the sauce where it was so cold. I believe this was because our mains had been sitting n the kitchen for a while - resulting in us being asked if the mains could be brought out.

Ricky ordered the above 14oz Tira de Ancho steak (£26.95), which looked super scrumptious upon presentation. Also marinated in garlic and chilli, it also came with a side pot of a chilli sauce called Chimuchurri which Ricky said was very hot (but a good hot!)

Unlike me, Ricky was fine with how his steak was cooked and tends to eat it medium-rare, so his was quite pink but just how he liked it. 

We both agreed that the steaks were nice and it was a joy to be able to cut and enjoy a steak without having to have a battle with it and a steak knife. Whilst we agreed that the chips were fluffy and delicious, we did agree that we felt the steak menu is slightly overpriced for what it is. If I am spending minimum £25 on a steak, then I would want the peppercorn sauce to be piping hot and cooked to how I asked it to be. 

We ordered dessert and hoped it would make up for a half enjoyed main.

Being pregnant, I am only able to eat certain desserts and was pleased to see a few different options on the menu. Cheesecake is my ultimate favourite dessert,  so was very excited to see a Lemon cheesecake on offer. However, I have to ensure the ingredients used are pregnancy safe i.e pasteurised milk. I didn't want to risk it, so asked the waiter if he knew if it was pregnancy safe or not as I am unable to consume unpasturised milk. He was unsure, so asked the  manager to come over.  The manager came over with a folder of ingredients in all of Bar + Block dishes and came to the cheesecake on a list. However, was still unable to tell me whether it contained unpasturised or pasteurised milk or not. 

He did offer to check the cheesecake packaging (suggesting it was frozen), so in the end to be on the safe side, I ordered the Salted Toffee Apple Crumble (£5.95), which was served with vanilla ice-cream. This ended up being delicious and I am glad I ordered it over the cheesecake in the end. The crumble was hot and the ice-cream really complimented the toffee apple perfectly.

Ricky went for his all-time favourite - the Triple Chocolate Brownie and ice-cream (£5.95). This looked slightly more 'home made' compared to other brownies I have seen before and was beautifully presented with the ice-cream scoop sitting on a mountain slab of brownie and dazzled in chocolate sauce. 

It took a while to get Adrian's attention to thank Bar + Block for a nice meal. It did seem he was avoiding us after he took our dessert plates away; often catching my eye but then looking away and walking away. 

The desserts were delicious I will admit and fairly priced. However, I wasn't impressed by the service at Bar + Block and did feel the steak menu was over priced, with little care for little things such as stone cold sauces that compliment a steak usually. 

Due to these reasons, I would not go out of my way to visit Bar + Block again. However, if I was in the area and hungry, I would probably drop by for a lunch or dinner - maybe avoiding the steak menu next time!

Disclaimer: A complimentary meal was offered in exchange for an honest review. All words, opinions and photographs are my own.

1 comment

  1. Sorry to hear it was an 'ok ish' place . shame as the picture would suggest otherwise. Hope your next food experience ( somewhere else) would be amazing !!! :)
    PS: great pictures
    ....and congratulation for expecting !! xx


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