Mark Kebble heads for Bar + Block, the latest addition to the burgeoning dining scene in King’s Cross. But with a couple of vegetarians in tow, can the new steakhouse please everybody?
The tension was palpable. Our very polite and informative waiter had just spent a very in-depth five minutes talking about how great Bar + Block’s steaks are, really ramping up the wow factor and saying this is what they are truly renowned for.
Yet, on a table of six, we are down to the final person to order and, well, no-one had so far plumped for the steak. But that’s Bar + Block’s fault for putting together a menu full of temptation.
At a time when there are restaurants popping up over London that focus – normally very well – on one particular aspect of eating, Bar + Block don’t put all their eggs in one basket (or steaks on the chopping board).
The menu is wonderfully varied, perfect for a group of meat eaters and vegetarians. Although I felt I should go for a steak, my attention was piqued by their new BBQ smoked pork belly, probably the two finest things in life coming together in one big crescendo.
The six of us had settled into the bright and comfortable setting at Bar + Block, which is fast turning into another highlight of the King’s Cross dining scene. Drinks ordered, we tucked into grazing plates for the table with aplomb, demolishing some Asian crispy beef, salt & pepper squid, and cheese and jalapeno stuffed dippers.
The beef was tremendous, the right side of sticky thanks to the hoisin sauce but not sickly, and the dippers packed a punch if you happened to crunch into a pepper.
And what of the steak? Eight ounces of rich flavour, cooked spot on to the medium rare order and a worthy example of what Bar + Block do very, very well indeed
So a good start, but that didn’t diminish the panic enveloping the table as the waiter collected our orders. There were two shouts for the halloumi and courgette burger; the chargrilled chicken salad; the mushroom and spinach gnocchi; and the aforementioned BBQ smoked pork belly. All eyes were on Julie, the last to order… ‘I will go for the ribeye please’. Phew.
The pork belly was one satisfying slab of meet, although perhaps a little dry – not surprising you may say as it has been smoked. It didn’t diminish its appeal, though, and was eagerly torn apart.
The verdict from around the table appeared to be overwhelmingly positive: the gnocchi was a popular choice, and both halloumi burgers soon disappeared and plates wiped clean. The healthy salad option was a light choice, rather handy considering the dessert menu to come. And what of the steak? Eight ounces of rich flavour, cooked spot on to the medium rare order and a worthy example of what Bar + Block do very, very well indeed.
Sure, it’s a steakhouse, and from what we experienced a very good one at that, but don’t let that put you off if it’s not your thing – vegetarians and gnocchi fans are welcome.
Bar + Block, 26-30 York Way N1 9AA; barandblock.co.uk