★★★★★ | Bar + Block
The Kings Cross area, if you haven’t recently been, is buzzing. Years ago it was a warren of prostitution and crime, now it’s gentrified with trendy and expensive apartments and a healthy choice of restaurant options.
Bar + Block, in my opinion, is THE restaurant option in the area. it is, in fact the perfect place to go for an excellent and very affordable meal. Located right next to Kings Cross Station on York Way and past McDonald’s and Nando’s, Bar + Block, right underneath the Premier Inn, is an excellent find. In the space that used to be the dreary hotel bar, it has been remodelled, chomped and changed. It’s now a beautiful restaurant where the bar, dining area and kitchen are all in one superbly designed and spacious large room. But it’s not just the layout that’s fantastic, the food is also amazing.
Immediately when you walk in you feel at home. The very friendly multi-cultural staff (mostly Spanish) are all smiley and eager to show you to your table. There are booths, raised tables, seats along the windows, sitting in the middle of the room or alongside the kitchen and the bar – it’s a cleverly designed space so unlike anything I’ve seen. Tables are not at all close to each other – you practically can’t hear the conversations in the room – but it’s the food that Bar + Block is all about.
Bar + Block bills itself as a Steakhouse, and they sure know how to do steaks. There are all sorts – Sirloin, Fillet, Ribeye, Rump – whatever you fancy, plus other various meat-related items. On the cold Sunday night that me and a friend paid a visit – I had the superb Smoked Paprika Chicken & Ribs, and for only £14.95, is best deal in town. Served with spicy beans and french fries, it was a large half smoked chicken with maple flavoured BBQ pork ribs, a massive meal at an excellent price! My friend had the 10oz Sirloin Steak – it was a generous piece that was tender and delicate and put a smile on his face. At £19.50 it’s a good deal as it comes with chunky chips, and for an additional £1.50 you can add sauce. He ordered the ‘B’ Sauce. But be forewarned, it’s spicy, so much so it almost made him cry. Perhaps go for the Peppercorn or one of their other sauces so you won’t need to pull out a tissue. There are so so many more menu choices that initially I really had a hard time deciding. Their Slow-cooked Pork Belly is a great deal at £13.95. Also, the Steak & Cheddar Pie (£12.95), Butternut Squash Risotto (£9.95), Linguine Arrabiata (£10.50), and the Beer-Battered Fish & Chips (£11.50) are all excellent value. The next time I go to Bar + Block for dinner I will have the Mixed Grill – for £19.95 its ribs, bacon, steak and brisket served with corn on the cob and chips – yummy! And of course there are burgers, all served with chips, and all priced under £11.50. The Eurostar employee next to us looked happy with his large burger!
Bar + Block also has an excellent starters menu. This includes the Beef Empanadas and the very good Mini Meatballs (both at £5.95) that we both ordered. I’ve eaten empanadas before and these ones were perfect! If you don’t like your meat, the Mixed Seafood Pot and Garlic King Prawns are also an option (both under £7.95).
As if we didn’t have enough food, with our mains we ordered the Mac & Cheese with Crab (a nice twist on the M&C dish), and heavenly Roasted Winter Veg (all priced under £3.95). And of course, the puddings menu couldn’t be ignored. I highly recommend the Rum & Raisin Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding – absolutely delightful, and served with warm custard – heavenly!. My friend had the Churros Sundae which was packed with vanilla ice cream, lemon curd, clotted cream and crunchy biscuit bites – he loved it (both at under £5.95)!
If the above is not enough to entice you, Bar + Block does an excellent Sunday Roast – available from midday Sunday and for a minimum of two people. First come, first served – it includes sliced sirloin served with Yorkies, beef dripping roasties, carrots, parsnips, Cheddar cauliflower cheese, seasonal greens and rich gravy, and at only £13.50 pp it’s perhaps the best food deal around in Kings Cross!
Another reason to go to Bar + Block? They do an absolutely excellent and very affordable breakfast & brunch! Steak & Eggs (£7.50), The Works (A thick cut of double smoked bacon, sausage patty, beans, salt beef hash, flat mushroom and roasted tomato, topped with a fried egg and toast – £8.50), a veggie option (£7.50), ricotta pancakes (£6.95).There’s also a children’s menu (for both breakfast and dinner) and an express menu served at lunchtime. Or if you prefer to sit at the bar, bar snacks are available.
However, no steak restaurant wouldn’t survive without an excellent drinks menu. Cocktails are great value-priced at £6.99 (we had the amazing Margarita and Bacardi Daquiri – mango flavored! Totally good and hit the spot). A small selection of wine makes it easy to order whatever may go with your meal, and if alcohol is not your thing, I recommend one of the smoothies (7 to choose from!).
Bar + Block is a perfect restaurant in a perfect setting with perfect food. It’s a must visit whether or not you’re passing through one of the nearby train stations. Heck, it’s a destination on its own!
Reviewed by Tim Baros
Telephone: 0203 889 8888
Address: 26-30 York Way N1 9AA
Mon-Fri: 06:30 – Midnight
Sat-Sun: 07:00 – Midnight
Photos by Roche Communications
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.