You may not have heard of it before but B Block just might be serving some of the best pizzas in the Bristol area.
Located in the Chocolate Quarter retirement village, it’s tucked away on the ground floor of the former Fry’s chocolate factory in Keynsham.
Part of the £60 million redevelopment by St Monica Trust, the converted factory is now a state-of-the-art care home and luxury apartments with a residents’ swimming pool, gym and spa.
Just an eight-minute walk from Keynsham High Street and five minutes from the railway station, it’s a good location but B Block restaurant seems to still be off the radar of many people living in the town.
One of the ‘problems’ is that a lot of people still think the restaurant is only open to residents of the Chocolate Quarter, but it’s very much open to everybody.
And that’s a shame as this cafe and pizza restaurant is knocking out high quality pizzas and there is a new head chef at the helm who deserves to be busy.
Jake Proctor used to be head chef at Bertha’s, arguably the best pizza joint in Bristol, and he has now brought his skill and expertise to Keynsham.
At Bertha’s, Jake was using a gas-fuelled pizza oven so it has been something of a baptism of fire since moving to B Block as its oven uses wood.
This means the heat can be more temperamental and requires a little more experimentation to produce the restaurant’s Neapolitan-style pizzas.
Jake has already tweaked the menu and the pizzas combine traditional Italian and Middle Eastern flavours.
My daughter ordered the new ‘salsiccia della casa’ (£14.75), a sausage-based pizza topped with San Marzano tomato, basil, slices of garlic and red onion, Parmesan crisps, pangrattato (garlicky breadcrumbs) and a carpet of small pork sausage balls.
The sausage balls were properly seasoned, the Parmesan crisps and pangrattato provided plenty of crunch and a dribble of garlic oil brought all the flavours together.
I went for the ‘cinco gambero’ (£15.50) topped with San Marzano tomato, five plump whole king prawns, ribbons of courgette, chilli, parsley, garlic and lemon. It was an explosion of summer flavours and one of the best pizzas I’ve had for a long time.
The base of each pizza was impressively thin with a perfectly puffy, airy crust that had blistered and charred nicely with the trademark leopard spot pattern.
Other pizzas on the menu we didn’t get to try this time included the harissa lamb with jalapeño, vegan yoghurt, pomegranate molasses and za’atar, and one with braised short rib and onion. All the more reason to go back.
And it’s also worth noting that B Block runs a weekend special offer on Friday and Saturday (5pm-7pm) where you get two pizzas and a bottle of wine for £30. If that doesn’t tempt you to visit this hidden gem, nothing will.
B Block, The Chocolate Quarter, Trajectus Way, Keynsham, Bristol, BS31 2GJ.