Posted 3 Reviews
If you’re going there, stick to the pizza and goulash.
The fried goat cheese salad is what ruined the night, second dish to arrive at the table. It was atrocious.
For less greens than what you get at a plastic wrapped pack at family mart, three balls of goat cheese, half a strawberry and two blueberries, you get to enjoy this piece of work for just 48RMB.
This salad is advertised to have “mixed greens with seasonal berries, candied walnuts and pine nut nougat served with fried goat cheese balls”.
The cheese balls are the size of a jiao. There were NO walnuts or pine nuts, except a sorry excuse of crystallized sugar the size of a fingernail. I could actually count the number of blueberries (2) and cheeseballs (3) and paper thin slices of strawberry that roughly added up to half a strawberry (me being generous).
48RMB? For salad? I know you’re trying to make money, but isn’t 20 for a soda water enough? (bulk buy yihaodian @ around 3kuai).
The solution? Oh, I’ll bring you five more cheese balls. I gave the salad to someone else because I couldn’t stand to look at it, I even lost my appetite.
I don’t usually write reviews outside work. But this really makes them a laughing stock. I’m a fan of BLOC in terms of what they do for Comedy and events, they're community friendly and try to branch out a lot.
They also messed up the bill, charging 5kuai more than they should, which of course, I caught. Tho, if I had a good meal, I probably wouldn't have noticed.
Posted 11 Reviews
Responding to another commenter's review that Bloc is now just another "run of the mil" restaurant. While it is true, that the establishment has diversified away from the exclusive "Eastern European" heritage, the new items added to the menu are actually pretty stellar.
After the change in fact, Bloc has become a favorite namely for the dishes themselves.
1) It's difficult to find a consistent rack of bbq ribs that just blow your mind every time you order. While this is pure, blatant americana, likely encroaching on the likes of Boxing Cat or Southern Belle, I actually prefer Bloc's due to flavor and portion size.
2) I strongly dislike (i.e. hate) beets, but I LOVE their borscht <--not easy to spell. I'm not a big soup guy (excepting a good gazpacho, or a homey clam chowder in a bread bowl), but I could eat this borscht tall night.
3) Pierogies are ace. The onion/bleu cheese buggers, really hit the spot.
4) I am going to catch some flack here from die-hard, but go try it for yourself, Bloc has one of the best burgers in the city. It has an attention to detail as such that this burger actually gives me cravings. NY Steak and Burger is fantastic in and of itself, but the thing that sells me with Bloc is the combination of other items that sets this place apart (the chicken wings, the feta friend spring rolls, or the onion blossom).
5) Their revised rendition of the Chicken Kiev is better than the previous rendition (which was a tad under seasons, and too crunchy on the outside). They also use dark meat, which makes for a richer dish, which is delight.
Bloc keeps just enough of the Eastern European fare to make this place unique. And while I wouldn't say, that the identity is exclusively Eastern European any longer, I actually am a fan of the new stuff added to the menu, not just for the quality of the food, but also their price points are far better than others around the city.
Highly recommended for their new menu items.
Posted 6 Reviews
Used to be focused on Eastern European food. Was expensive, but definitely had some unique flavors including a great Chicken dish.
I went back, had the same chicken dish under new management, and the dish was titled the same, but used different ingredients and was not tasty.
The perogis are great. Highly recommended. Can't go back because I only went for the chicken.
Now the menu is just regular, hamburgers, salads, etc. Not super Eastern European and not cheap.
Has a nice terrace.
Posted 2 Reviews
My friend and I both ordered the 2-course brunch deal for 135RMB each. Decent deal and the brunch selection is pretty great, a huge range of sweet to savory. We loved the smoked salmon crepe, the little deep fried capers were a nice touch that I hadn't seen before, and I usually don't like capers. We also got the bacon-blue cheese pierogis, which sounded better than they actually tasted... they were fine, but a bit bland and just, lacking.
My big disappointed came when I ordered the Latke platter. Every good yiddish grandma can agree that a latke is in fact a potato pancake, in fact latkes is LITERALLY DEFINED AS potato pancake. Flat, deep fried, shredded potatoes in pancake form. I heard someone at another table disappointedly say "oh... tater tots..." when their plate arrived, without knowing what they had ordered. Then my plate arrived and it was more like "WTF TATER TOTS?!" I also suspect they were frozen, as they tasted the exact same as the kind I had in elementary school, but I've also never known anyone to make tater tots from scratch (because that would be ridiculous) so I can't tell the difference.
I was so pissed off that it made me even more pissed off that my friend's Reuben sandwich was really good. So, 3 stars for food. For G-d's sake don't order the latkes.
Other petty notes: I ordered a coffee that never came (though they took it off the bill before I could point it out) and I really did not enjoy the management style. The waiters were all warm and attentive, but the manager kept barking orders to them about stuff in front of all the patrons in the middle of the restaurant.
Posted 1 Reviews
I ordered the Southern pork ribs, and my companion had the blue cheese pierogis (sp?). Kinda disappointed that the other pierogis were taken off the menu, I thought it was unique and distinguishing that they had a whole menu section dedicated to this one dish. Nevertheless, our food was still great and the ribs were larger than I expected.
My companion also ordered an espresso martini, which she didn't like at first because the espresso was too strong. Sending an order back is not something I do often, but when I do I consider it a good test of the restaurant's service. No restaurant is perfect, it's how they deal with problems that separates the good from the bad. Anyway, we told the manager, he checked it and agreed with my date's assessment, and happily agreed to make it again, and it was much better the 2nd time around. Thanks for a great night, guys!
P.S.- Teacher's Night on Wednesday is a much-appreciated bargain.
Posted 8 Reviews
I went on a double date to Bloc last night to try out the new menu. First, we ordered happy hour drinks. When we realized that we ordered a drink that wasn't part of happyhour they kindly informed us they'd let it slide since we'd already been served. Needless to say the service was great the whole night, like Servers-who-work-for-tips good. The menu was a good size, not too big but enough options for everyone to make sure they ordered a different dish. At our table we had the rosemary rack of lamb (on the small side and chewy but good), the pork ribs (huge and tender), the filet mignon, and the grilled salmon with risotto, which was the envy of all of the other diners. It was a generous portion of grilled salmon laid over a bed of creamy risotto and a side of veggies. The atmosphere was really welcoming and casual. We weren't ever ignored despite the fact that the restaurant was full.
Posted 1 Reviews
Since first attending a tasting dinner in its soft launch, Iâ€™ve returned to Bloc for a number of dinners (and lunchesâ€¦and brunchesâ€¦and drinksâ€¦) and have yet to leave disappointed. A recently expanded menu provides a welcome and detour from typical Shanghai expat fare, and my only criticism is that such hearty, home-style deliciousness deserves a cozier environment. (The dÃ©cor, while clean and comfortable, feels a bit too formal.) The service is fast, friendly, and attentive in a non-stand-over-your-shoulder way.
Regardless, though, the reason I go to Bloc is the delicious food. Stand-outs include the feta and raspberry vinaigrette salad, the chocolate lava cake, the sliders, the chicken paprika, and oh my god the BORSCHT. The borscht. Justâ€¦just make that happen for yourself, because you deserve it. Youâ€™ll be happy you did.
Posted 1 Reviews
It was so surprising to me while eating their dumplings, on how terrible they were!! The price is awful, the portion is small and most importantly - the pie is TOO THICK!! The dumplings are suppose to melt in your mouth, and be very tender. Instead, I was amazed how hard, thick and tasteless the pie was. The taste itself with the cheese etc. was... blend... really blend.... I have promised my husband and friends to make a proper Easter European dumplings for them. And I did - the result is: No more dumplings for us at the Bloc.
Next we took red borscht. We asked for a bigger portion so that we can share it. The waitress brought a small plate, and so I pointed out that we wanted the bigger version so that we can share. She said that it was THAT bigger portion. We were both shocked. However, the soup was OK!
And finally, the goulash. That is actually the ONLY dish that is REASONABLY priced and it is absolutely FANTASTIC.
I will go back to Bloc, but for Goulash only. The portion is huge, so there isn't any space left for anything else anyway.
Suitable for ...
Posted 1 Reviews
Last weekend we decided to try Bloc's food and it was a really good experience. Menu is not too big, but it makes the choice easier. Portions are huge and you also can choose portion for one or two people, to share. Chicken Kiev is an absolute MUST, fantastic dish, not a typical presentation and really tasty. We tried several types of varenyki (pirogy), the best are with blue cheese and bacon, great taste and not heavy at all. If you like soup, borsh was really tasty too and a small cup is enough for one person. We were 6 people and totally enjoyed the dinner. Great value for money, definitely going back! Elena
Posted 11 Reviews
These days, I find it fairly commendable when a dining institution manages to take a relatively unknown (or not so popular cuisine) and manages to turn it into the calibre of "destination" dining. I have had experience with eastern european cuisine before both here in SH and abroad, and I have to say that Bloc manages to elevate this cuisine to the level of something easily desired. I'd have to say, that I err on the side of those positive reviewers for this place. Highly recommended.
Having hit the mark of three visits for Bloc, I can say a bit about both dinner and brunch.
First of all, I disagree with some of the other reviewers here. All of the pierogies I've had were excellent (the bacon & bleu cheese, being highly recommended). They are all a little on the rich side, but make excellent palate preparers for the rest of the meal. Secondly, the cabbage rolls. Wow. Perhaps others have just had them on off nights, but the two times I went for dinner, they were ordered both times. The first time, they had made such an impression, meat is rolled tightly around a cabbage blanket, with a creamy-tomatoe type ragout sauce that was a) perfectly seasoned and b) perfectly unique. This is probably the dish that I crave the most. The chicken kiev on the other hand... had some excellent strong points but a point of improvement as well. The chicken breast was cooked the way it should be, tender, moist (none of that dry baloney), the outside "breading" is what I consider to be non-traditional, but makes the dish unique and still fun to eat. My only beef (or chicken in this case) was that the sauce accompanying the dish was a tad under-seasoned. Two shakes of the salt shaker, and the sauce receives a delictable richness (this is a minor infraction, because seasoning can be a somewhat subjective issue, whereas you completely kill the dish if it is over-seasoned which has happened with any of their dishes).
Everyone agrees. The borsch is outstanding. I should qualify this statement however by saying that I absolutely hate... HATE HATE beetroot (and I generally like everything). Blech! It was never something in my palate growing up, and as an adult I've never managed to get past the "dirt"-like taste of it. However, SOMEHOW, the beetroot in the borsch was cooked in such a way, that te first time I had it, my table had to order a second helping. The bleu cheese salad is also excellent, it is on-par with Hai's bleu cheese salad, but it a bit more simplified (and not in a bad way).
Remember how Azul used to be everyone's favorite place? The value was there. The amount of stuff you could get on the price point was stellar, not to mention how good the food was. Unfortunately Azul has lost some of it's allure to to recent changes, so where to go? Strangely, Bloc manages to fill this spot, while taking on a hybrid brunch option (think Old Azul & Madison). Bloc has definitely taken queues from these two institutions, but with no fault (except the drinks, more on that later).
You have the gamut represented here: eastern europe, light & fresh, and heavy for the hungry men. My one time at Brunch, I was a bit in panic mode (i.e. emergency hungry) and went off the set menu option and ordered far more than I could possible eat a la carte, while my two friends stuck to the set menus (our table was filled with dishes). One thing to note, BLOC IS VEGETARIAN FRIENDLY. A simple request "I'd like this with no meat" and boom, it's done. Not to mention that they HAVE "V" options already on the menu. I ordered the Lox Bagels, Eggs Benedict, Dutch Babies, Pierogies (have to order), and the Bibb Salad (yea yea, don't judge. Like i said - emergency hungry). My friends ordered omeletes and qinuoa salads. Eggs Benedict... they were different by way of the bread, I don't how to describe it, but the way the whole thing was put together was quite good. The dutch babies as well, I'm not sure it aught to be judged as a main (more like a dessert in fact), but nevertheless this item should be ordered NO MATTER WHAT (it is like a fantastic, apple, caramel, brown sugar piece of WORK. Totally delicious, but verrry much on the sweet side. If you're not in the mood to have a sweet main, then get something else, but order this a la carte as it should be part of the meal).
Do we all remember Avalon? Not too much has changed (that I can remember). Dark wood floors, subdued lighting, blue accents upstairs, branded artwork, and a pretty nice terrace which has you surrounded by the green foliage of trees. We had brunch on the terrace, and it was a perfect mix of sunlight and shade. The interior strikes a careful balance being good for all occasions (business, date, friends), really no complaints here. The place is done up well.
Outstanding. By the second visit, the floor manager had remembered my name. You get professional service from places like M on the Bund, Pelham's, Sir Elly's, etc., but you get truly elevated service really only at Element Fresh and Jing'An. Bloc manages to accomplish this as well. There is simply NO lack of smiles and courtesies amongst the staff, and on not one single occasion was a mistake made with any of our orders. There were regular check-ups, water service was excellent, and during no visit were we kept unreasonably long for any requested item. You're meal is enhanced by the service here, not at all a detractor.
The one thing however that I did notice that was not consistent with the rest of the value were the size of the drinks. Granted, the cocktails, I feel, are rightly sized for their price (and quite good. Bloc Punch is highly recommended, they are VERY easy to pound!). But at brunch, a thing like freshly squeezed orange? You get about half as what you'd get at Element. Make this little adjustment, and everything is on the same level.
Bottom-line however: Value is excellent. The food-portion to RMB ratio is why I had mentioned Azul before. You get that at Bloc (whereas, Azul has raised prices, and no longer includes some of the cool things they used to). Brunch is around 138rmb per person. Dinner, you are looking at around 150 - 300pp depending on how hungry you are (the half portions are good enough to fill up most girls I know) and if you include wine.
It's not often you go to a place, and they have particular dishes that you suddenly begin to crave mid-week. Bloc does this. Eastern European has suddenly become accessible, AND desirable, a well done feat for something that rightly could have been received with trepidation by the shanghai populace. Highly recommended, and if you go, these were my favorites: Borsch, Bleu Cheese Salad, Bleu Cheese Pierogies, Cabbage Rolls (get a full order, you won't regret it), and for brunch, the Eggs Benedict and Dutch Babies for a certainty.