Ian Waller and his family enjoy a meal out at the new Bar + Block steakhouse in Bath
With so many new restaurants in Bath, it can be quite a challenge choosing the best one for a family meal out. We always look for somewhere that’s not going to be too posh so that the children can relax, not too loud so that we can’t hear each other talk, ideally has space around the table to spread out, where children are welcome and the food promises to be decent. Well the good news is, the new Bar + Block steakhouse does the lot!
Bar + Block can be found on James Street just along from the Odeon Cinema, and we booked a table for 5pm on a Tuesday, meaning that it shouldn’t be too busy. Straightaway we took to the place, with the modern decor and light surroundings being attractive and modern, and our delightful waitress Lucy quickly proving herself very child friendly.
The dining experience started superbly before we’d even chosen our main course, with the complimentary beef popcorn – yes beef popcorn! – that was handed out and very gratefully wolfed down. While we grown-ups were given a menu including every type of traditional steak meal imaginable – plus a few new ones alongside – our children were handed the Young + Hungry Kids Menu, offering a starter of veggie sticks, plus a choice of mains and desserts and a drink for £6.50. OK, the children’s choice was limited and predictable, which is generally the way with kids menus, but the beef popcorn had boosted our expectations and my three all found something that they wanted in no time.
Meanwhile, Ellen went for a started of padron peppers (£3.50) followed by an 8oz Ribeye (£16.50) and Churros Sundae (£5.95) pud, while I plumped for wild mushrooms on toast starter (£5.95), a Tira De Ancho spiral cut ribeye steak, marinated in garlic, chilli and parsley (£26.95), with triple chocolate brownie (£5.95) for afters.
While our meals were prepared, we indulged in a Doctor Who quiz, supplied by our youngest who is a fervent Whovian, and a spot of sketching. This is one of great things about an early evening family meal – the restaurants generally aren’t too busy meaning that the occasional shouted answer didn’t result in glaring looks from other diners.
When the starters did arrive, they were a superb example of the mains to come – beautifully cooked, well presented and perfect portions. The peppers could perhaps have done with a touch more salt, but the flavour was gorgeous and reminiscent of a childfree holidays in Spain including nightly tapas tasting treats. The mushrooms, meanwhile, were excellent and served with a creamy sauce and poached egg for extra flavour and texture.
On to the mains and for Dan, who ordered the grilled chicken breasts and frites, it resulted in a recommendation of “This is the best chicken ever!” Eve and Joe meanwhile went for mini steak and frites, and appeared similarly impressed, if less vocal. It is worth noting here that while the portions were fine for the younger boys, their 11 year old sister did fine hers to be a little on the small side, meaning that she ended up nicking some of mine!
As for the grown-up mains, for the price paid, they were pretty much as good as they could have been. Cooked perfectly and accompanied with beef dripping triple cooked chunky chips – and yes, they did taste as good as they sound – and a choice of side dishes, they provided a really enjoyable and filling feast, which had Ellen and I planning our next visit before we’d even finished. OK, my ribeye could have done with a little more seasoning, but that is me being very pernickety and certainly didn’t take away from the dining pleasure.
Of course, desserts can make or break a meal, and fortunately for us, our choices all got the thumbs up. With Eve and Joe joining me with the brownies and Dan preferring ice cream, they all lasted no time at all, and even managing the impressive task of distracting our youngest from his Doctor Who quiz questions for a minute or five!
So what did we think of our family visit to Bar + Block in Bath? A bit old thumbs up all around. Lovely decor, excellent service and well-prepared, fresh-tasting food, with a relaxed atmosphere where we could all feel relaxed. As an early evening choice, it’s a great place to take children, while for those precious babysitter evenings, we grown-ups will be more than happy for a return date.