At The Kensington Arms in Redland, I’m acutely aware that I’m the last face any kitchen brigade desires to see over an extended bank holiday weekend. This boozer, some miles from Bristol town center, had been cited to me with the aid of food-fanatics several instances, and the phrases “conventional” and “proper” featured regularly, as did “dependably remarkable Sunday lunch”. We all need one of those up our sleeve: there’s no longer a problem inside the international that roast potatoes and gravy do not enhance. Aside from, possibly, gout, though with the aid of that degree you can as nicely crack on.
The Kenny, because it’s affectionately called, is one of the contemporary initiatives of chef Josh Eggleton, whom I met throughout a judging desk on BBC2’s Great British Menu. It was the collection celebrating “top-notch Britons”, in which cooks queued up to cure trout in tribute to their forefathers and gift puddings symbolizing the Windrush. Eggleton, I discovered here, is the face in the back of the Michelin-starred us of a pub The Pony & Trap in Chew Magna, and turned into an interestingly humble culinary genius, as well as a restaurant entrepreneur who has opened a number of chip shops and bistros around the Bristol area.
Still, at some stage in TV competitions, in which cooks are pushed to be showy, thematic or to “cook out of doors their comfort area”, I regularly lengthy to flavor the sort of food they assume is scrumptious when they’re no longer being requested to make outstanding telly. Nobody on MasterChef: The Professionals ever says, “Today, I’ve cooked a leek and jersey royal potato soup and served it with fresh sourdough and true salted butter”, however with the aid of God, every so often I wishes they might. A female can undergo most effective such a lot of offal bonbons with a Pernod clafoutis chaser.
Joyously, at The Kenny, with Luke Hawkins (ex Pony & Trap) on the helm, the unmarried-sheet Sunday lunch menu begins with exactly this straightforward leek-and-spud pottage. It is velvety, aromatic and balm-like. It strikes a chord in my memory of the folly of the way, in recent many years, Brits have been made to sense sheepish over current a long time approximately selecting soup as a starter, as if it’s simplest one step up from that different classic Seventies opening act, “a glass of pasteurized orange juice”. The Kenny has the soup to exchange all of that.
Other starters protected a crab cake with curried mayo and pickled kohlrabi, at the same time as a few crisp brawn came armed with each pickle and piccalilli. Brawn, or head cheese, is crafted from the rich, flavourful, gelatinous meat from a pig’s head, which all cooks swear is the first-rate bit. It may not be to be all people’s flavor, but in case you’ve ever eaten a reasonably-priced sausage, I’m fairly sure you’ve fed on a whole lot worse.
We were delighted with a bowl of exact, fresh, perfectly judged Cornish mussels in a wealthy, piquant, cider-and-cream broth, which Charles chose and which I pilfered with an extended spoon.
The Kenny, I felt after my first white peach bellini, is the type of pub that offers you a crisis of conscience approximately flagging it as much as the outdoor global. The locals are so glad right now on this space, that is a long way from gargantuan, and its welcoming, open-kitchen returned room that’s peppered with odd, culinary-themed art and staffed by using individuals who are a long way, some distance more tremendous than they want to be for a pub, as though this had been the Mirabelle within the late Nineteen Nineties.
The Kenny is cleanly stored with non-sticky tables, spotless bogs and comfy banquettes that have not as but been spattered with gravy. It has the whole lot a boozer should have, apart from, perhaps, a saggy-faced pub dog ambling about and begging crisps.
We drank Dashwood Pinot Gris from New Zealand at £7 a tumbler and waited for what is thought on the menu as “The Main Event”. Charles had medium-rare dry-aged Hereford beef rump – thick, pinky-red slices, with fluffy, light Yorkshire pudding, crisp, plump, roast potatoes, pink cabbage and one of these carrots which are so fancy, they come up with most effective one.
I discovered my very own nirvana in a heavenly sweet potato and chestnut wellington: smooth, candy, nutty and flawlessly pro, with superb pastry. I even have tasted a few beastly vegetarian wellingtons in my time, but this one restored my faith. In truth, supermarkets setting together their Christmas food offerings should analyze from The Kenny, and keep veggie food fanatics from every other Yule ingesting what tastes like budgie feed wrapped inside the Dead Sea scrolls.