Bloc is brilliant. I’ve spent many nights drinking and dancing there until 3am, got sweaty at gigs and steaming with pals. As a pub alone it’s excellent enough, but this basement bar also cooks up phenomenal things in its kitchen. The ‘mad chef’ Danny is more of a mad scientist, concocting weird and wonderful food with passion and precision. He bashes out big burgers and pulled pork as you might expect, but he also knows his way around a chia seed and experiments with aquafaba.
Glasgow is very vegan-friendly and there are plenty of places punting plant-based grub, but look a little harder and you’ll find unsung heroes like Danny smashing it with inventive vegan offerings. He added a vegan hot dog to Bloc’s menu and the internet went mental, Instagramming, recommending and rejoicing over the avocado-covered creation.
Keen to cater for customers and with an increasing interest in and awareness of veganism, the mad genius of a chef decided to make round one of Bloc Wars entirely vegan. Two chefs, two rounds, two themes. Excited about a full three course meal made by the mad man himself, I booked myself a front row seat for round 1. Ding ding!
Starting strongly, the panko tofu packed a punch, bursting with flavour and turning up the heat with a fiery chutney on top. Tofu can be a bit hit or miss, but the consistency was excellent and it was really flavourful, which is often an issue with this naturally bland ingredient.
The hero of the round was the main course, with a squidgy, meaty black bean burger, packed with flavour, covered in vegan cheese and squashed between an impressive bun made of noodles! I was ramen it in my mouth at high speed and was reliving it for the rest of the evening, looking back at that delicious dish and craving another savoury hit from this belter of a burger. It held its own amazingly well, despite seemingly sloppy ingredients and every single bite and bit of it was delicious and addictive, with no slimy noodle-slurping in sight. I could eat it again and again and I really hope this burger becomes a regular on the menu as it was the champion of the evening for me. The big man told me he had used sesame oil and kimchi in the patty, which explains my addictive enjoyment of it as these are flavours I crave and the combination is mindblowing. Sweet, salty, spicy, savoury. Sensational.
The final blow came from a dark and decadent chia chocolate mousse with rum and agave. Bold and boozy, with a deep dark finish and white chocolate sprinkled on top, it was an excellent end to the round. I was really impressed by the creativity and eagerness to try new ingredients, and we even had a gab about how amazing chickpea juice is, which is the last thing you’d expect to hear from a tattooed Bucky ‘n’ burgers kinda guy, but that’s just it – there’s much more than meets the eye at Bloc, in its kitchen and in the marvellous mind of the mad chef. Exciting things are going on in there and it’s an amazing place, buzzing with creativity and punching out the competition with attitude and style.