Bloc+ (117 Bath Street, Glasgow)
There are few pleasures greater than having a decent sit-down lunch on a week day. To feel the benefit you have to have at least two courses, possibly three, and a proper drink. I take a seat in Bloc, have a sip of beer, think of the queue I saw at Greggs on the way here, and sigh contentedly.
Bloc is a popular music bar on Glasgow's Bath St and wears the scars of its busy nights lightly; its battered wooden benches and tables and easygoing staff are welcoming in the quiet of the afternoon. The danger of eating lunch in such a place is the temptation to stay, and to lose the rest of the day to slow, steady boozing.
When my lunch companion arrives we turn to the menu, which has recently undergone a revamp. There are the standards that form the backbone of any decent bar menu – burgers, sandwiches, salads, and an interesting selection of pizzas and pastas – as well as a range of Asian/Mexican/European-fusion dishes.
Our starters arrive. The Asian fusion chicken broth is made with a decent stock and freshened with green herbs, noodles and slices of milky white chicken breast lurking at the bottom of the bowl. The vegetable tempura is as it should be: crisp vegetables, crisp batter and none of that whiff of old oil common to lesser establishments. For mains, we have chilli beef noodles and a Spanish-inspired butifarra negra pizza. The first has a good kick of heat from fresh chillies, the second has the unlikely pairing of chorizo and Scottish black pudding. Morcilla might have been more successful, but otherwise the pizza is excellent with a paper thin, crisp base.
For pudding we order the hot bloc choc brownies. Expecting the usual small square of underdone cake mixture, we are taken aback by the confection of brownie, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and drifts of chocolate powder that arrives. We stagger out the door, our bodies gripped by an almighty sugar rush, all thoughts of an afternoon of drinking forgotten. [Keir Roper-Caldbeck]