It’s safe to say I’ve not set foot in a Beefeater for quite a long time so when I heard about the new Beefeater concept – Bar + Block opening alongside the Premier Inn in Birmingham City Centre I was certainly intrigued. The idea centres around cuts of beef form the Butchers Block. All the beef comes from British breeds reared across the Pampas in South America. As well as the more traditional cuts such as Fillet and Ribeye, they will offer a rotating series of steak specials from the Butchers Block.
The interior decor was certainly in keeping with the ‘in fashion’ style of the times, lots of exposed brick work, overhead pipes and a bit of an industrial feel. With wooden tables and leather chairs and banquettes in tan, green and grey it seemed to work really well. There was even a neon cow on one of the walls showing you where the different cuts of meat are from, something I’ve seen recently on twitter, in a Manchester restaurant I think, but can’t for the life of me remember where. It’s certainly a nice talking point though for diners.
Whilst ordering drinks and looking through the menu we were given a pot of Beef Dripping Popcorn to nibble on. The salty beef flavour was certainly pretty moreish.
The menu is pretty large, with a sharing starters, more traditional starters, steaks, other grills, burgers and then a long list of ‘regular’ mains that included things like Fish and Chips, Pork Belly and Shepherds Pie. For me the menu was too long with too much choice, and the starters, steaks and grills sections would have been plenty, but this is personal taste and I’m sure many people would prefer it longer rather than shorter.
For starters we decided to choose from the sharing section, and although the Salt Beef Block sounded really appealing, we were worried that this might be too large with mains to come so we shared the Trio of Dips which comprised of Tzatziki, Red Pepper and Feta and Guacamole alongside charred flatbreads. The first two of the dips went down very well but the guacamole lacked that much needed tanginess for me. The other started that jumped off the page when looking at the menu was the Chicken Wings with Raspberry & TABASCO®Sauce. Available in portions of 6, 12 or 24 we opted for just the 6. The sauce really worked for me, the fruitiness combined with the heat of tabasco and a crispy well cooked chicken wing made theses very successful indeed.
For our mains, Lee had to have a steak – he went for the 8oz Ribeye, with chunky chips. For £1.50 extra you can add a sauce – he tried out the Bernaise and also on my insistence, the signature ‘B’ sauce described as a spicy black sauce. His steak was cooked a perfect medium rare and he couldn’t find a fault with it. Chips were decent but not the best ever and the steak was served with samphire which was an unusual touch. Lee wasn’t keen on it, but I thought it made a welcome change to watercress. We both loved the ‘B’ sauce – I could have taken a vat of this home.
Much to my dismay at the moment cannot eat steak as I’m pregnant (well I could eat it well done I guess, but this is sacrilege so I don’t!) So instead I went for the Smoked Paprika Chicken & Ribs – Half a smoked paprika chicken and smoky maple flavour BBQ pork ribs, served with spicy beans and French fries. This was a huge portion of food that I struggled to finish. I enjoyed the chicken a lot – the paprika flavour was lovely and strong and the chicken remained juicy and succulent. The ribs were tender although not as flavoursome as the chicken and the smokey beans made a welcome side to the meal.
Desserts were a pretty traditional list, including American Style Brownie, Cheesecake, Bread and Butter Pudding etc. We went for the Blackforest Sundae which we shared, being pretty stuffed from our mains.
Overall we liked our meal at Beefeater Bar + Block. The wings stood out to us, and the steak was of great quality too. I’d certainly head back to try more of the steak and grills section as well as some of the intriguing sharing platters but stick to my opinion that they don’t need the rest of the menu, the steaks will be enough to please people. The restaurant also runs a breakfast menu and good value Express Menu at lunch time so is worth a visit if you;re in the town centre.
Disclosure: We were invited to Beefeater Bar + Block to try the food, but paid for our own drinks. All opinions remain honest and our own