We went to a brand new steakhouse in Birmingham city centre and it exceeded all expectations
Looking for a new restaurant to try in Birmingham? The Bar + Block steakhouse in Exchange Square is definitely worth a visit.
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Having been open in a brand new location in Birmingham city centre since the end of March, it was about time we gave the Bar + Block Steakhouse restaurant a go.
What better way to kickstart the bank holiday weekend than with a date night testing out a chain we have never been to before.
Bar + Block already had one venue in the city, in Waterloo Street, but the latest addition to Birmingham’s thriving hospitality scene is in Exchange Square – just a seven minute walk from Moor Street Station, making it a great location for those looking to travel into the city centre.
Being attached to a Premier Inn hotel definitely has its perks for those staying there, and yet the restaurant still attracts customers on foot as it is such a short walk from the main shopping area.
As soon as you turn the corner into Exchange Square, the restaurant’s neon orange lights capture your eye, and it quickly became clear that Bar + Block was a modern and aesthetically pleasing venue on the inside and out.
Upon arrival we were greeted with a smile, and the friendliness and attentiveness of the team continued throughout the duration of our visit.
As we took our seats in a booth – the prime place to sit – we were each handed a small tub of beef popcorn. ‘Beef popcorn?’ you might ask, which was our exact reaction.
The complimentary appetisers provided something we never knew existed – and that was before we had even had the opportunity to pick our food and drink options. A tumbler of water was also brought over to wet our whistle as we perused the menus.
Our table was located in front of the open kitchen, something we believe is a sign of a good restaurant. If you can see the chefs cooking and preparing your food, it gives you the added confidence that they are going the extra mile to make it as special as they can.
After making our food and drink selections, we admired our surroundings. From the upbeat acoustic and pop music playing over the speakers, to the atmospheric lighting and rustic decor, we could see the attention to detail that had been put into making the venue its own.
And with a good mixture of booth seating for larger groups and intimate tables for smaller bookings, the restaurant can accommodate one and all.
After finishing our popcorn, along came our drinks – two Cosmopolitan cocktails as it would be rude not to make the most of the two-for-one happy hour deal, and a pint of Asahi.
Having visited on a Saturday evening, it was great to see the two-for-one deal from 5pm until 7pm even applies on weekends.
There was a good selection of cocktails and we were pleased to find the restaurant had Asahi on tap, something you do not tend to find very often.
The Cosmopolitan cocktails had a fresh and zesty flavour and we appreciated the attention to detail in the decoration. When you are paying between £8 and £9 for a cocktail, in line with most hospitality venues, it is nice to see effort being made.
The two cocktails came to £8.80 and with the pints costing around £6, the drinks were standard prices.
Before we knew it, along came the starters. Three small plates to share, costing £15 for the trio.
We chose pulled beef and hummus flatbread, which was beef drizzled with chilli and garlic served on a bed of hummus and stone-baked flatbread, mac and cheese bites, and hand-cut crispy halloumi fries – and they did not disappoint.
Individually the flatbread was priced at £6.50 and the latter two were £6 each, so if you are in a group it is well worth making the most of the three for £15 and four for £20 deals.
The beef was tender and melted in your mouth, and was accompanied by the delicious and creamy taste of the chickpea hummus.
You could not go wrong with the other two starter choices in our opinion. The bites and fries lived up to expectations and we would recommend these classic cheesy dishes to anyone who would usually order them.
It was great to see such a variety of small plates on offer and we did not feel too full ahead of our main courses.
Our mouths were watering as we saw our mains approaching the table. Charlie had a 12oz sirloin steak with beef dripping triple-cooked chunky chips and peppercorn sauce, while Katie had The Mighty Block Burger – their signature six ounce beef burger with mature cheddar cheese sauce, crispy onions, pulled beef brisket, pickled cucumber and burger sauce.
As a specialty steakhouse, you would expect nothing less than the variety of steak choices on offer.
Charlie’s was priced at £28 for the steak and chips and an additional £2 for the peppercorn sauce.
Though we deemed the succulent steak worth the money, it was a shame to have to pay an additional amount for sauce.
Despite that, you cannot replicate the fiery sensation of the peppercorn sauce hitting the back of your throat – which is part of the experience of eating steak.
It speaks volumes that Charlie did not want the main course to end and he also enjoyed trying the restaurant’s signature ‘block sauce’ – which resembled barbecue but with a sweeter taste and more hints of vinegar.
Nothing was too much trouble for the Bar + Block staff members, who were more than accommodating in switching chips for onion rings alongside The Mighty Block Burger.
As you can see from the photo, there was a lot packed into the £17 burger – yet it was possible to get a bit of everything in each mouthful, which is just what you want.
Earning the title of one of the best burgers Katie has ever had, there was enough of each element inside to appreciate it all.
The pictures certainly do the main courses justice and though they are more expensive than what a typical meal out would cost, it is definitely worth it if you are treating yourself or celebrating a special occasion.
Charlie labelled his steak one of the best he has tasted in the £30 ballpark and that speaks volumes.
Though we could have left at that point in the evening with full stomachs, it would have been rude not to try the desserts.
Katie had the chocolate churros sundae, which contained churros coated in cinnamon sugar served with vanilla ice cream, triple chocolate brownie chunks, cream and chocolate toffee sauce, and Charlie had a mini trio of desserts – warm triple chocolate brownie, lemon drizzle cake and churros.
Priced at £6 and £6.50 each, we saw them as value for money and a great way to end our delicious meal.
Charlie enjoyed the variety and though the lemon drizzle cake gave him a nostalgic feeling of being back at school, his favourite was the churros.
Though Katie’s sundae was aesthetically pleasing in its glass jar, smaller pieces of churro would have been more practical in getting a mouthful of all the components.
Our meal came to a total of around £95, which we believe was good value for all we ordered.
If you are looking to spend less as a party of two, there are more affordable options on the menu – such as the £13.50 cheeseburger.
It is definitely worth the money if you want to push the boat out and celebrate a special occasion at a luxurious steakhouse.
We will certainly be going back and recommending the newest Bar + Block Steakhouse to others.
To find out more and book your table at the restaurant in Exchange Square, click here.