BAR + Block is the latest member of Leamington’s ever-growing culinary scene.
One could ask if another bar and restaurant was really needed in the town. A visit to the Parade establishment – located in the former Barclays Bank building opposite the town hall – soon provided a firm yes to my question.
The expanding chain’s seventh restaurant – with others in Birmingham, Bath, London, Nottingham and Whiteley – will only add to Leamington’s reputation as a top food destination.
The refurbishment has been done with great care and thought to create a spacious and stylish restaurant, with a distinctly relaxed air. There’s an open kitchen which is always good to see, and an outdoor area, complete with games, which will come into its own in the warmer months. They’ve also got details right. All too often music can be too loud or the lighting is too dark or bright.
The service is also spot on – attentive without being overly fussy.
But of course it could be the most stylish and welcoming restaurant in the world, but without a menu to match it would be all rather pointless.
Bar + Block’s focus is on quality steaks. Nothing has been left to chance. The meat is from British breeds of cattle reared across the Pampas lowlands in South America. All steaks are then aged for a minimum of 28 days and are hand cut on site. They are then
served to the customer’s taste.
The only real problem facing said customer is in choice – from classic cuts of rump, ribeye, sirloin and fillet, to speciality offerings ranging from Churrasco De Chorizo (10oz spiral cut sirloin, marinated in garlic and parsley for 24 hours) to Tira De Ancho (14oz spiral cut ribeye, marinated in garlic, parsley and chilli, served with chimichurri).
Our visit started with ‘beef popcorn’ being placed on our table while we looked over the menu. Thinking we had misheard the waitress, we tasted and realised we had heard correctly. And very moreish it was.
For starters we went for the grazing plates – designed to mix and match. Asian Crispy Beef (pulled beef tossed in hoisin), and Salt & Pepper Squid (mixed with chilli and garlic) were as moreish as the popcorn and with a good kick, and if the Cheese & Jalapeno Stuffed Dippers were not quite as exciting that was more down to standard set by our other starters.
For mains I opted for the Surf & Turf (8oz sirloin, topped with a lobster tail cooked in garlic butter over charcoal) which was perfectly cooked and packed with flavour, while the good lady found out that while Bar + Block know how to prepare and serve a seriously good steak, it’s not all about meat. She opted for a whole sea bass (cooked over charcoal with garlic, lemon and thyme, served with sprouting broccoli, baby capers, chilli and cherry tomatoes).
With five different chip options neither of us could resist the Beef Dripping Triple Cooked Chunky Chips, and neither had any regrets.
From the carefully selected, fairly priced, and thankfully not overbearing wine list we went for the juicy smooth black fruit-packed Graffigna Centenario Malbec which lent itself well to both steak and fish.
If room is left for a pudding we can recommend both the Salted Toffee Apple Crumble and the Mixed Berry Pavlova. Both were well worth the guilt.
Bar + Block offers plenty of choice, including breakfast, brunch, and Sunday dining options, and is certainly a more than welcome addition to Leamington’s burgeoning population of restaurants.
Visit www.barandblock.co.uk/leamington-spa to book and for further details.