It’s incredibly rare I head to Bath these days, with the boyfriend now moved in with me in Bristol there are only a few select places I will head to on purpose. So when I was invited to try Bar + Block, a new range of steakhouses under the umbrella of the Premier Inn hotels I was up for a jaunt down the road to Bristol’s sister city.
Bar + Block is nestled on James Street next to the cinema complex, not hidden but set back from the road. The decor is 100% steakhouse, wood panelling, large tables with shared bench seating, open kitchen and rustic looking lighting all tastefully done and welcoming. I am a sucker for the green “Bath tile” as I call them and the bar area was adorned with them.
The menu is vast with plenty to choose from, starters are offered as pix n mix “grazing” plates, there were of course burgers, fish dishes and veggie options but the steaks take up prime menu real estate in the middle. We had the most amazing waitress, bubbly and knowledgeable without overdoing it. She ran us through the menu, grabbed our beers (nothing local sadly but there a nice range if you’re looking for something a bit more exciting than Fosters) and recommended items that we hadn’t considered and the special.
We went for scallops and beef croquettes to start, we received three plump and juicy scallops sat in a shell with garlic butter, chorizo and topped with samphire and three crispy balls of pulled beef, cooked and dressed in a port, bone marrow and treacle sauce. They were then sat in a puddle of punchy garlic sauce that I had to stop myself licking off the plate as I was in semi-polite company. Plates cleared we eagerly kept our eyes o the bustling open kitchen waiting for our mains.
I went for my favourite steak cut, a nice fat marbled ribeye with Bar + Blocks signature double cooked chips (in beef dripping!) and some garlic spinach. The boyfriend went for the special, a hefty sirloin rubbed in garlic and chilli, served on a block with smokey BBQ beans that were packed with bacon and pulled beef brisket. I was overjoyed to see that the block had a plate inserted inside, making the meal far more enjoyable. There is nothing sadder that slopping your meal onto the table trying to eat off a repurposed scaffolding board.
My meal was served on a plate, although the sides were served in separate containers which I’ve never seen the point in, please just chuck the chips on and save the washing up! The steak was cooked beautifully, savoury charring on the outside, melt in the mouth fat marbling in the middle and meat that offered resistance but not chewy or dry. My partner’s sirloin was also cooked rare as he liked it, the beans were unctuous, sweet and smokey from the flame grill and the chips were thick as steakhouse chips should be, (do not serve me fries) and full of that beef dripping flavour. Crisp outside, fluffy in the middle and perfect thing to catch the last of the BBQ bean sauce and steak juice.
I was incredibly impressed with the level of quality in the food from a chain steakhouse and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to someone looking for a central steak a little more affordable than Hudsons. We were made to feel welcome, the service impeccable (and we told the manager so!) and the food exceeded our admittedly snobby expectations 10 fold. I have been so pleased to see hotel restaurants really starting to bring their A game, becoming places to head to because they’re serving great food and not because they’re an easy but expensive choice in a new city. My latest recommendations being The Jetty and Hotel Du Vin.
Find them at 4 James St W, Bath BA1 2BX.
*This meal was offered free of charge but did not impact my opinion in any way*