Andy Mossack ventures south of the river to visit Southwark’s latest steakhouse.
When I found out the Bar + Block Steakhouse hand cuts steaks to whatever size your appetite demands, I was immediately smitten. Let’s face it, any carnivore would be. Images of me venturing into Man v Food territory did appear in my head fleetingly but were quickly swept aside. Good steaks must be savoured and, reassuringly, as Bar + Block’s Angus steaks are aged at least 30 days, they need to be treated with respect.
That said, I was briefly disappointed when I arrived. The restaurant is off Waterloo’s famous Cut, but in a side street amid lofty tower blocks, and forms part of a Premier Inn complex. However, don’t let that put you off. Once inside, you’re treated to a contemporary rustic interior with plenty of reclaimed wood on show in tables, ceiling beams and floorboards, open brickwork, trendy copper notes over the expansive cocktail bar, fancy lighting, a butcher’s table big enough for six diners and an open kitchen at the far end. There’s plenty of comfortable booth seating and an impressive neon – lined cow that leaves no doubt as to the fare on offer.
It’s an all-day menu with breakfast available, but I assume this is mainly for the hotel guests.
Aside from the aforementioned steaks, the menu offers hand-ground freshly prepared burgers, other grills like lamb chops and chicken, fish and salads for non-carnivores and grazing plates for the table.
I have to admit I do like to graze whenever possible, so we kicked off with a small bowl of honey and mustard glazed mini sausages (£3.95) and cauliflower wings (£4.50). Although had we not been going the full meat feast we might have also dived into the Trash Can Nachos (£6.95), a stack of in-house tortilla chips layered with spicy beans, Cheddar cheese, tomato salsa, cheese sauce, spring onions, chilli and coriander.
As it turned out, the battered collie nuggets were piping hot, satisfyingly crunchy and came with a punchy red pepper and harissa dip.
Of course, this was merely the support act. The stars of the show were about to appear, and we were more than ready for them. I was admittedly tempted to try out a made to measure cut and see if they could pull it off. Standard cuts are 8, 12 and 16 oz steaks using rump, rib-eye, sirloin and fillet and come with samphire, your choice of sauce from stroganoff or peppercorn to blue cheese, mushroom, red wine and pancetta or bearnaise, plus house salad or beef dripping triple-cooked chunky chips.
All well and good, but our eyes strayed to the speciality cuts section and who can resist a little pizazz. I loved the sound of the spiral cut fillet (£29.50) fillet marinated in garlic and parsley for 24 hours for tenderness and flavour and served with beef dripping triple-cooked chunky chips and chimichurri sauce. Mrs M took the speciality route too with Surf +Turf (£26.95) an 8oz sirloin, topped with lobster tails cooked in garlic butter over charcoal.
These were both hands-down knockouts. Cooked exactly as ordered and completely delicious. My spiral cut came on a butcher’s blockboard and the chimichurri sauce added an extra layer of bite to the dish. I also treated myself to a healthy side of garlic spinach (£2.95). Mrs M was equally effusive about her sirloin and lobster tails, but eyeing my chips was quick to make a righteous point that she added tender-stem broccoli.
Speaking of sides, there are plenty on offer. Halloumi fries (£3.75), beer-battered onion rings (£2.95), garlic mushrooms (£2.95), mac and cheese (£3.75) and a rocket and parmesan or a house salad (both £2.95).
Bar + Block Steakhouse offers very good value and outstanding meat quality to a whole range of cuts. The offer to tailor-make your cut is a unique selling point that gives them a little stardust above other steakhouses, but frankly, you would need a gargantuan appetite to deviate from what is already on offer. It’s more than enough for mere mortals.
Tell me more about Bar + Block Steakhouse, Southwark.
Bar + Block Southwark, New Marlborough Yard, Ufford Street, London, SE1 8LE
T: 0203 928 8288 E: email@example.com