Bar + Block, Birmingham

BarBlock Menu

Lunch dates are my favourite, especially when they’re impromptu. Dave and I often end up trying out new places for lunch after Geeky Brummie on a Saturday. A couple of weeks back, we were wandering about hungry, and decided to investigate Bar + Block, on Waterloo Street. I’ve walked past it a few times and made a mental note to try it, epecially as Dave is such a steak fiend. I hadn’t actually noticed it was owned by Beefeater until we got there, so I will confess, my expectations weren’t super high, but boy was I wrong. Inside is classic trendy decor, all light wood and copper details. We sat in the main restaurant in a cosy booth, and promptly became besties with the waitress after she admired my Superman t-shirt. Top marks for friendly staff, Beefeater!

Mocktails in Birmingham

I was…a little delicate from a night out with friends the night before, so unlike me, I didn’t fancy a cocktail, although they do have a good menu. Instead, we thought we’d try a mocktail and both opted for the Cherry Bakewell, which is cherry puree, amaretto flavour syrup and cranberry juice. The drinks were a good size, served promptly, and were very tasty. Good, interesting options for non-alcoholic drinks is so often overlooked, but we enjoyed these so much, we ordered a second round.

Mixed Seafood Pot

We hadn’t planned on ordering starters, but they sounded so tasty, we couldn’t resist. I chose the Mixed Seafood Pot, which is a pot of mussels, prawns, white fish, squid and clams cooked in white wine, garlic and butter. The fish was all gorgeous, in huge chunks and so soft it just fell apart. The shellfish and squid was tender and juicy and the sauce was delicious. I really appreciated the chunks of crusty bread to soak up every last drop of sauce.

Beef Empanadas

Dave chose the Beef Empanadas, which are Argentinian style pasties, filled with spiced beef, served with tomato salsa. As a northerner, anything pasty like is ok by Dave, and this vanished pretty quickly. I didn’t try, as Dave looked sad at the prospect of sharing, but he reported they were generously filled and the salsa was fresh and light.

Steak in Birmingham

As it was a steakhouse, it seemed rude not to order a steak. I went for a rump steak, cooked to medium rare, which came with beef dripping chunky chips. I also ordered a Béarnaise sauce to go with it. The steak was incredibly thick, but was cooked perfectly. Pink in the middle, crisp at the edge, exactly how I like it. The chips were fluffy, and the beef dripping I assume they’re cooked in had added a lot of flavour and crispness to the outside. My only quibble is that I don’t think the steak had been allowed to rest for long enough, so leaked a lot of fluid and was almost immediately swimming in a small pool of water, which was a shame. It didn’t impact the flavour though, which was fantastic.

Smoked Paprika Chicken and Ribs

Dave opted for the Smoked Paprika Chicken and Ribs from the grills menu, which comes with spicy beans and french fries. Warning, this is a huge plate of food, so don’t order this unless you’re bloody hungry or have a good appetite. Dave made a noble effort, but couldn’t finish it. The ribs were beautiful, and allowed to have their own flavour instead of being drowned in sauce. They were so well cooked the bones literally dropped out of them. The chicken was juicy and well smothered in paprika. The spicy beans were positively inhaled, so I suspect Dave would recommend those too.

Mac and Cheese

As if we hadn’t eaten enough, we also picked a side of the Mac & Cheese with Crab. I’d say this is one to share for sure, as the cheese and crab were both strong flavours, which made this quite rich. It was very tasty though, with lots of crab.

We rolled out very full and contended after a very enjoyable meal. We’ll be back for sure!

We paid in full at Bar + Block. They didn’t know I was a blogger. All opinions are honest and entirely my own (or Dave’s…). 

Friday Round Up

Friday Round Up

We’ve been cultured here at KissHQ this week. Dave and I saw the 20th anniversary production of Rent in Cardiff last weekend, and it was amazing. Truly amazing. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes musical theatre. Layton Williams stole the show totally; but the whole cast had incredible voices.

We had a round of crazy golf with my family, a walk on the pier and some tasty american diner classics at a certain Doctor Who filming location.

I’ve been off work this week, so I spent some time cosplay crafting, doing some more work on Femme Gambit. I’m so excited to get it finished and actually wear it to a con. It’s going to be so much fun, and my first gender swapped cosplay!

Oh…and the weekly vlog came back. Give it a watch?

1580, Birmingham. Brum Bloggers Meet Up

Brum Bloggers have the best meet ups, it’s official. A few weeks ago, we set off on an epic trek across Birmingham (or an epic trek for those like me who pretty much never leave the city centre…) to check out 1580 Restaurant. 1580 is a contemporary indian dining experience in Erdington, named for the year Sir Francis Drake returned to Britain with sacks of exotic spices from the East.

1580 Restuarant

Indian Dining Birmingham

The whole restuarant is themed around the British links to India, and the impact on our cuisine that Drake and his spices had. Without being too obviously nautical, the decor has little touches that remind you of ships. With the beautiful ship mural, heavy dark wood and jars of spices, the interior is calm and cosy, while hinting at the mixed heritage this food now has.

Indian Food Birmingham

We started with a selection of dips and masala cone popadums. I’ve never seen popadums served in a cone like this, and it made a simple appetiser look interesting. We all dived in and were very pleased with fresh, spicy flavours of the dips. The green chutney was a real favourite, and according to our table mates who actually lived in India, was incredibly authentic.

Where to eat in Birmingham

Standard apologies for crap photography…this are the last event photos taken with my old camera and from here I should have better luck with ‘mood lighting’. Why is everywhere orange now? Anyway, less orange than it appears, we moved on to trying some of the starters. This is a doubled up version of the Drake’s Royal Meat Feast Platter for 2. The platter consists consisted of Murgh Tikka – Sizzling Chiken Tikka,  Kochi Kekraa – Tender strips of Crab, tender Lamb Chops  and Zaffrani Bada Jingha Tikka – Tiger Prawns. The prawns were so enormous that we ended up spending a good chunk of the evening what on earth prawns ate that would make them so huge. As well as enormous, they were juicy and delicious. In fact, the whole platter was perfectly spiced, with that right balance of heat and flavour. The portion size is perfect to share between two of you if you can’t decide on one thing on the starters list you want to try.

Curry house Birmingham

Indian meal Birmingham

Next, we tried a selection of curries from the main menu. We tried  Bater Curry on the bone, Murgh Tikka Chicken Masala, Pot Pepper Lamb Curry and a vegetarian curry that I cannot remember the name of for the life of me. The veggie curry seemed to be entirely sauce, which was very tasty, but I was surprised there seemed to be no vegetables or anything in there. All the curries were delicately spiced and packed with flavour. The lamb in particular was gorgeous. Big chunks of tender lamb swam in thick, rich sauce of tomato, onion and peppers.

Indian desserts Birmingham

Last up, we had a dessert of Gulab Jamun. This are dumplings made of milk reduction and cottage cheese, served hot in a sugar syrup and with a scoop of coconut ice cream. I’m not usually a big fan of sweet dumplings, and while the flavour of these was very tasty, the texture didn’t do it for me. I also don’t like coconut, so the ice cream wasn’t for me, but the syrup was good. Others around me devoured these in no time flat though, so if you are a fan of either coconut or sweet dumplings, definitely give this a try.

1580 is a fantastic neighbourhood restaurant, clearly being run with love and passion for Indian food. The owners and staff were incredibly friendly and we had an excellent evening of super delicious food. Go and pay them a visit for sure.

 

Brum Bloggers were guests of 1580 for a taster menu. All opinions are honest and entirely my own.