Last weekend, my best friend Laura booked a table at new Chelmsford restaurant, Chop Bloc. Predominantly serving steaks, Chop Bloc focuses on around nine cuts of meat, all aged in-house; although it serves burgers, wings, chicken and fish too. The restaurant is on three floors, with the ground and first floors for dining (outdoor seating is also available during the day), while the second floor is dedicated to the Bloc Bar, with a capacity of around 80. It’s such a man friendly place, although after checking out the website, I soon saw it would be perfect for cocktails with the girls.
We had a drink in the Bloc Bar when we arrived as our table wasn’t ready. There are plenty of booths for the more intimate experience, although there are high tables and bar stools with seating along the whole bar area. It was the perfect place to begin the night. With a selection of bar snacks also available, it’d be great for a casual lunch. To drink, Laura and I both went for the Blue Lady: a concoction of Sailor Jerrys, Bacardi Gold, guava, passion fruit, pineapple and lime juices with loads of crushed ice and served in a ceramic blue lady pot. It was so refreshing and looked spectacular – even though we had to carry them down a flight of stairs when our table was ready.
We sat on the first floor – the dining area is open plan, almost like a massive warehouse. A flight of stairs after half a bottle of wine isn’t much fun though! We had a decent table though, next to the wine cellar and in great view of the blackboard which explained the various sharing steaks and their weights for the evening. We skipped starters and went straight for the beef! Jake and I shared 600g of chateaubriand – the smallest size available – with sides of skin-on fries, onion rings and a pot of peppercorn sauce to accompany the steak. Even though we requested blue, the steak was more medium-rare, probably too cooked for my liking (I wouldn’t mind if it was still moo-ing!) but the cut and quality was just incredible. In terms of previous steaks, this wasn’t as good as Hawksmoor but better than Madison’s. We lucked out with sides, the skin-on fries were crisp and tasted so good smothered in peppercorn sauce and meat juices. The onion rings were so moreish, the batter was thick and crunchy; it was a shame there’s only five in a portion, especially when you’re sharing.
Laura and I shared the chocolate brownie for dessert which was a great move, as there’s no way either of us would have managed it all. It was so rich and gooey and the ice cream melted. The plate was decorated with fresh raspberries and coulis. Nothing on the menu really took my eye, so this was the best option by far.
The meal was fairly pricy, with service charge already included at 12.5% (while I was happy to pay it, we’re in Chelmo not London). I think our bill came to around £180, with the chateaubriand at £60 alone – we had four drinks, a bottle of wine and six courses, so I guess that isn’t too bad. The service was very good and we were never waiting a long time for anything.
I’d thoroughly recommend Chop Bloc for larger parties or celebration meals, as there are a great variety of sharing steaks to choose from. It’d be the perfect place for a guys night too.