Is there a more iconic duo than steak and chips? It’s a simple yet special plate of food that when done well can offer unparalleled satisfaction, and has proven itself to be one of the UK’s most popular restaurant choices for a reason. In the search for steak to write home about, we headed to Bar + Block in Bristol city centre to try their wares.
This small chain, linked to the Premier Inn Hotel brand, offers a luxe experience, which is bound to please hotel and dining-only guests alike. The atmosphere and welcome are warm, while the dining room is bright and comfortable, with cosy booths offering a semblance of privacy.
Bar + Block know their steaks, offering popular cuts, as well as a more adventurous list of specialty cuts and a revolving seasonal special. And for those not in a steak mood? Choose from a list of small plates, burgers and BBQ-style grill dishes that should tickle the fancy of any and all in your dining party.
My partner in dine and I decided to share a bottle of the house Malbec (£18.95) with a few small plates to start, opting for the sticky beef (£5.50) and the battered salt and pepper squid (£6.50). The beef was served warm over fresh cucumber, chilli, coriander and spring onion, which cut through the rich hoisin sauce that coated the meat. The succulent salt and pepper squid was wrapped in a crisp batter and served with a punchy garlic and lemon mayo. It was incredibly moreish and was polished off with gusto.
Steaks are sold by weight with a suggested serving size for the average hungry diner. But if you're famished? The kitchen select and cut all their steaks to order, the price of which can be advised on inquiry, so you can bump up your serving size. Our waiter told me that the largest steak he had served one person was 32oz - a monster! I went for an 8oz ribeye (£15.50), medium rare, and my friend went for a rump (£11.95). Sides are ordered separately and I couldn’t resist chunky, triple cooked chips (£3.25) and a silky, Bearnaise sauce (£1.50). My partner opted for french fries (£2.95) and peppercorn sauce. The quality of the steaks was impressive, both cooked exactly to our liking, with the fat on my ribeye rendered until soft and yielding. The chips were exactly what they said they would be, thick and crisp, they made the perfect mopping tool for the buttery Bearnaise and steak juices.
Despite feeling pretty full, we couldn’t resist a dessert and chocolate caught both our eyes. My chocolate fondant (£.595) was rich and sweet with an oozing middle, a particularly piggy end to a fine meal. My friend went with a little extra drama for dessert; a chocolate dome (£6.95) expertly dispatched by our server with hot chocolate sauce, leaving pieces of chewy brownie, soaked in vanilla ice cream and dulce de leche sauce.
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After all that, it should come as no shock when I say that we loved our meal at Bar + Block. A casual spot fronting a high quality offering, their mix of delicious, juicy steaks, warm service and a welcoming atmosphere certainly hits that sweet point of satisfaction.