Thursday, 28 June 2018

Bar + Block, Birmingham Review

Bar and Block Steakhouse Restaurant Waterloo Street Birmingham Gluten Free Food Review

Hey Owlets,

I'm back with another restaurant review, and this may actually be one of the last for a little while. I feel like I've been flooding you with them recently and I have so much going on over the next month or so that I don't have time to go out for a meal! Today's review comes from a little further north than the last one, just off of Cathedral Square in central Birmingham.

I realise the first photo may not seem particularly relevant, but as soon as you walk into the restaurant you realise that it's an Instagrammer's paradise, in fact the manager had to stand there for a minute waiting to show us to our table as we took a photo of the sign.


Bar and Block Steakhouse Restaurant Waterloo Street Birmingham Gluten Free Food Review

When we sat down we were greeted with beef popcorn and a jug of water which I thought was a really nice touch to start the meal with - the only thing is that I'm not sure if it's beef flavouring (and therefore vegetarian) or if it contained meat, but either way it tasted great!

While we were choosing what to eat we were recommended a bottle of prosecco, which of course we couldn't turn down! I have to say the staff were incredible, especially because I was hanging out with Tracey for the first time in a few months, so we had a lot to catch up on and we were two glasses of prosecco down by the time we'd stopped chatting and chosen what to eat.

Bar and Block Steakhouse Restaurant Waterloo Street Birmingham Gluten Free Food Review

Both me and Tracey chose scallops to start. I'm used to seeing squid on the menu and being told I can't eat half of the dishes because they're cooked in the same oil as squid, so it was a refreshing change for the server to tell me that they could cook me almost anything without it being contaminated, and he was very knowledgeable so was able to explain how things were cooked so I could make my own mind up.

The scallops were nice, but a little underwhelming if I'm honest. It came in a sauce which was quite bland so by the time you'd squeezed some lemon over the dish that was all you could taste, which is a shame because the scallops themselves were great quality. This would've cost £6.95 so I think that's pretty reasonable. If you were to share this it's part of their "grazing plates" and they recommend you get three between two (we didn't see this until after we'd ordered!).

Bar and Block Steakhouse Restaurant Waterloo Street Birmingham Gluten Free Food Review

When I originally received the email in my mind I was like "A steakhouse? No way, I don't eat red meat", but I was really impressed at the variety of choices if you didn't eat beef - people who don't eat red meat and vegetarians are both well catered for. However, everything else seems to have been forgotten, and if it happens to fit into a particular diet it's probably more of a coincidence than planned. For example, I didn't see any signs for gluten free on the menu, even though there were seemingly GF options. 

Tracey ordered the spiral cut steak, while I opted for the hot smoked salmon. I'm not really sure what I was expecting, but I'm glad I ordered chips because I really didn't expect a salad. There were some potatoes in there but nowhere near enough that it would've been filling on it's own. The flavours were well chosen, but it was definitely more salad than anything else and it was too much of the same thing after a while - I ended up leaving a good half of the dish. Tracey, however, really enjoyed her steak, said it was tender and ate it all so it must have been good!

Bar and Block Steakhouse Restaurant Waterloo Street Birmingham Gluten Free Food Review

Dessert was really the low point of the meal for me. The waiter brought the menu over and recommended the churros sundae; when I reminded him I don't eat gluten he said "oh yeah" and walked away, giving no guidance on what I could or couldn't have. When he came back to take the order I questioned him and all of the knowledge he had when I asked about my squid allergy seemed to disappear in an instant. In fairness to him, he fetched a folder that listed all the allergens in order to check. However, when we came back the only thing he could offer me was a fruit salad, and the only thing I could have with it was coconut sorbet. 

There was nothing wrong with the fruit salad, but I was really disappointed by the lack of effort that appeared to be shown for people with intolerances, especially after my squid allergy was so well catered for, and having had a salad for main course I didn't really want a bowl of fruit.

Bar and Block Steakhouse Restaurant Waterloo Street Birmingham Gluten Free Food Review

If you simply choose not to eat meat and your friends really want to go to a steakhouse then you won't go hungry at Bar + Block, but equally you won't leave with the same feeling of being impressed by the experience as your meat-eating friends. However, if you can't eat gluten then I would look to eat at one of the many other fabulous restaurants in the city, as you won't have much choice or guidance, but if you and your friends are all 90% carnivore then you can be assured that you're going to have a great meal - it just wasn't the best for me.

Where would you like me to try next? Let me know in the comments below.

Love and Feathers, 
The Owlet 💜 
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