WHATEVER the reason for your visit to London the Kings Cross Bar and Block restaurant is the perfect place to eat.

Whitbread, which runs Beefeaters, so often seen in an industrial parks in commuter towns or in forgotten suburbs, has launched its new urban m-eatery concept and Kings Cross is the flagship after the success of the first Birmingham restaurant.

The stylish interior is a mile away from the giant pictures of vegetables and flames common in old Beefeaters.

The kitchen is the focal point of the restaurant, a gleaming brightly lit hive of activity which had an hypnotic effect on me.

The Bar and Block menu has plenty of new twists and improvements on normal steak house menus which did not seem to change for decades.

I had my eye on the Ploughman’s Block (£13.95) which comprised of homemade Scotch egg, warm sausage roll, Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced salt beef, marinated dill pickles, chargrilled red peppers, crispy pulled beef, onion marmalade and crusty bread.

However, that was for two and my dining partner, the Seafarer, had her eye on the Mixed Seafood Pot (£7.95) mussels, prawns, white fish, squid and clams cooked in white wine, garlic and butter, served with crusty ciabatta and a wedge of lemon.

Which she gave the thumbs up mid-mouthful, and that is high praise from a woman who sees the English channel most days and knows everything about fish.

I went for the Mini Meatballs (£5.95) which were mini pork and beef meatballs cooked in a spicy tomato sauce, topped with fresh basil and parmesan and served with crusty ciabatta.

They hit the spot, and their taste reminded me of lost days devouring tapas under an Iberian sky.

And then it was onto the mains. Decisions, decisions. Steaks, burgers, stews and lots more were on offer.

I thought the Seafarer would have gone for the Whole Seabass (£14.95) which is a whole boneless seabass stuffed with garlic, thyme and lemon, served on a bed of new potatoes and topped with buttered samphire and cherry tomatoes.

But she was all about the meat, I had worried she would be a fish out of water in a Beef and Block but she wanted the Sirloin 8oz (£16.95).

Halesowen News:

It was as you would expect a flagship steakhouse's signature dish would be, I did not even have to take the Seafarer's word for it as she left a chunk for me.

I went for the Beef Rib Wellington, crispy pastry wrapped around a bone in beef rib, a novel twist on the normal welly.

It was as special as I had hoped for, there was more enough for one person and the beef rib was as succulent as it looked.

We were both too full for pudding, however, as I had mentioned it was my birthday I got one anyway.

A brownie with a candle on the top, surrounded by singing, beaming staff (who were all great birthday) giving a rendition of Happy Birthday.

And thanks to a wonderful meal and the company, I did.

For more information about Bar and Block in Birmingham and Kings Cross visit www.barandblock.co.uk