Beef on the Block: Keeping it simple with steak & chips

Anyone who knows me well would agree that I’m partial to a nice, slap up steak dinner. In fact, there was a run in joke at my old workplace about how many times a month I ate at Miller and Carter as I talked about it so frequently. It’s my ultimate treat night meal, whether it’s a £20 ribeye from a nice restaurant or a £4 sirloin from Aldi. I love a juicy steak and salty chips.

I was delighted therefore to learn that Beef on the Block were going to be coming to the latest Longbridge Dining Club. These beef loving, blue cheese grating foodies really are the new kids on the block, and it was with great anticipation that I headed down to their stand in the Longbridge Life car park for a taste.

The long queue at the stand was the first good sign that something incredibly delicious was being whipped up in the van. First things first, I quizzed the Beef on the Block guys on what I could eat. What came next was a generous portion of Aubrey Allen Bavette Steak with chimichurri sauce and crispy chips. Let me tell you, this dish was absolute perfection!

The steak was medium rare, flavoursome, extremely tender and melted in your mouth. Both the steak and the chips were nicely seasoned, in fact, the chips soaked up the juice of the steak creating a really moreish finish. I adore chimichurri sauce and so I knew this was going to sit well alongside the steak. Drizzled over the chunky meat, the herby sauce provided a refreshing addition to the dish.

Overall, my first experience of Beef on the Block was top notch. My only regret was that I didn’t order a second portion – always my downfall! If you like simple, no thrills grub that is tasty and filling, then Beef on the Block will be right up your street.

Steak and Co. gets a no

Eating out can be a nightmare for anyone with food allergies or intolerances. The amount of trust you have to put in someone cooking up a meal in what is most likely a gluten infested kitchen is something I don’t ever think will get easier. There have been times over the years when I have paid more than anyone at my table to have a main meal, as sandwiches or wheat laden gravy dishes were off the cards. I have had a waiter arrive at my table holding a plate full of pasta smothered in cheese, despite me telling them I could in no way eat this sort of meal. And then there have been times in cafes when my soya milk was actually cow’s milk, leaving me feeling ill for ages after. I guess eating out is in a way like playing Russian roulette.

On a recent trip to London, I stopped off at a steak house called Steak & Co. Granted, I get sick of eating steak all the time when out and about as it’s the only thing that seems to be available with non-gluten containing ingredients, but I was in a hurry to find somewhere to eat and the restaurant actually looked quite appealing.

Upon taking a seat I was greeted by a waiter who I asked about a gluten free menu, to which I was told they didn’t have one which is very common in food establishments. However, when I asked for an allergy listing for the dishes on offer, they looked at me like I’d just asked to see a monkey riding a motorbike. The waiter then told me ‘I’m sure you probably know what you can and can’t eat’ in a polite but very unhelpful way.

Obviously I opted for the safe option and chose the fillet steak, with no sauce, no butter and no chips as these all contained wheat and dairy. Me and my friend assumed that being a steak house, chips would be included as a side dish, but no they cost no less than £2.50, and my jacket potato cost £3.50. I commented to my friend on how if I was the chef I would be embarrassed to send out a steak on its own with not even chips to accompany it. The best bit was, nearly £22 for a steak and you had to cook it yourself on the grill plates which were presented, a nice little touch for some but I don’t think it really satisfies the whole ‘let’s go out to eat dear to save cooking tonight.’

I admit, upon looking at their menu there were some really appealing dishes on offer which I would have loved to have tasted, and for normal eaters I’m sure this place would be a foodie’s heaven if looking for a typical grill house. Unfortunately, due to the staff’s lack of knowledge on food allergies and very limited options available for special diets, I can’t say I’d recommend Steak & Co to many people.


Miller and Carter succulent steak

I think most gluten free people have experienced going into a restaurant, looking down the menu and realising there is absolutely nothing they can eat. I’ve been there many times, especially when friends decide to take a spontaneous trip out to eat and I haven’t had the chance to have a look at what dishes are on offer beforehand. But there is one meal I always seem to fall back on in situations such as these, steak and chips! I grant you, I love steak, but when I go to often smaller or your average chain carvery and can’t eat much off the menu, I do get a bit tired of always having to order steak.

Millers & Carter steakhouse however, is a whole new kettle of fish. Obviously being a steakhouse, steak and chips is their baby, and in my opinion they serve the best I’ve ever tasted throughout the UK so far – the only steak better was served to me in the USA, but as they’re the father of steak and I’m sure my meat had literally just come off the cow, it would be unfair to compare.

The staff are always really friendly to me and understanding of my needs, in fact as I am also lactose intolerant, I have been known in the past to take in my own butter and spread it across my plate. But, as the dishes are not over complicated it’s not hard for them to accommodate the needs of a gluten free person like myself.

They serve a variety of other dishes including sea bass, which I am really, really wanting to try one day if I ever get to a steakhouse and don’t want steak, as well as chicken, gammon, pasta and a small selection of vegetarian dishes.

If eating before 5pm Friday and Saturday or 6:30pm Monday to Thursday, the restaurant has a very reasonably priced lunch and early menu with a tempting selection of dishes. However, if ordering from the main menu, expect to be presented with an iceburg lettuce wedge stuffed with a mouth-watering topping of your choice, whilst also being given the option of which delicious sauce to smother your steak in. Personally, I don’t think you can beat the red wine sauce which blends in gorgeously with my medium rare cooked steak.

Yes the steaks do go up in price when you order off the main menu, but I believe you have to pay a bit for a really decent quality steak, and compared to what I have been charged before at certain restaurants where their steak is nowhere near as tender, I think it’s worth every penny at Millers & Carter

This time round, I ordered the 8oz fillet steak with the bacon and honey mustard sauce on the lettuce wedge, as all is gluten and dairy free. Served with chips and fried onions, the steak was cooked to perfection and filled me right up.

I think the main point is though, gluten free and non-gluten free people will love this place. And if unlike me you can tolerate a bit of pudding such as a good old crème brulee, I would strongly recommend making just a little bit more room in your tum!

Hard Rock Café Dublin

This weekend I finally took my first trip to Dublin. After years of trying to get the money together to go for a few days but never succeeding, me and my friend decided to go for just the day. With the flight only taking 40 minutes from Birmingham and the tickets costing less than travelling by train to London, there really was nothing to lose.

The first trip we took was to the Guinness factory, and although I couldn’t drink the Guinness, I did get to pour a pint and visit the roof top bar overlooking the whole of Dublin and so the view was worth the price of the 16 euro ticket alone.

The main worry for anyone suffering from Coeliac disease or allergies however, is always finding somewhere to eat when visiting a new place. I decided that my best bet for finding a ‘free from’ safe place was probably on the city’s famous Temple Bar as this is one of the places most tourists flock to for a pint and pub grub.

Luckily for me I came across a TGI Friday’s which I know do a gluten free menu and Hard Rock Café, both located on Fleet Street. I asked upon arriving if Hard Rock Café did a gluten free menu and they presented me with a few options for main meals, appetisers and side dishes.

Like a lot of establishments, steak is always a safe option for anyone with allergies and the menu had included a choice of two varieties of steak dishes and one fish dish with allergen information. I opted for the New York strip steak, as did my friend and I have to say I was very impressed when it arrived.

The portions were very big, as you’d expect from an American chain restaurant, but the quality of the steak was very good – flavoursome and tender, but most of all cooked perfectly to my preference of medium rare. I was even more happy to be given a big stack of chips as I haven’t been able to eat proper thin cut chips at a restaurant in years due to them always being cooked in flour.

Overall, I had a fantastic meal and would recommend Hard Rock Café to anyone with food allergies as they were accommodating to my needs. Although there is not a great deal in terms of gluten free meals, the size and quality of the food is well worth it if you appreciate a good steak.