At The Kensington Arms in Redland, I’m acutely conscious that I’m the remaining face any kitchen brigade wants to see over a long bank vacation weekend. This boozer, a few miles from Bristol city center, has been mentioned to me by way of numerous food-fans instances, and the words “conventional” and “right” frequently featured, as did “dependably superb Sunday lunch”. We all want one of these up our sleeve: there’s no longer a problem in the world that roast potatoes and gravy do not enhance. Aside from, possibly, gout, though, you could correctly crack on by way of that level.
The KeBecause-affectionately called, is one of the modern-day initiatives of chef Josh Eggleton, whom I met throughout a judging table on BBC2’s Great British Menu. It became the collection celebrating “first-rate Britons”, wherein chefs queued as much as treatment trout in tribute to their forefathers and present puddings symbolizing the Windrush. Eggleton, I discovered right here, in the face in the back of the Michelin-starred us of a pub, The Pony & Trap in Chew Magna, and become a curiously humble culinary genius, in addition to a restaurant entrepreneur who has opened some of the chip shops and restaurants across the Bristol place.
Still, for the duration of TV competitions, wherein chefs are pushed to be showy, thematic, or to “cook outside their consolation sector”, I often long to taste the sort of food they suppose is delicious once they’re not being asked to make extraordinary telly. Nobody on MasterChef: The Professionals ever says, “Today, I’ve cooked a leek and jersey royal potato soup and served it with clean sourdough and top salted butter”, but by God, occasionally, I wish they would. A woman can undergo only so many offal bonbons with a Pernod clafoutis chaser.
Joyously, with Luke Hawkins (ex Pony & Trap) at The Kenny) at the helm, the unmarried-sheet Sunday lunch menu starts offevolved with this trustworthy leek-and-spud pottage. It is velvety, fragrant, and balm-like. It strikes a chord in my memory of the folly of how, in recent many years, Brits have been made to experience sheepish over recent decades approximately choosing soup as a starter, as if it’s only one step up from that other traditional Seventies opening act, “a tumbler of pasteurized orange juice”. Kenny has the soup to exchange all of that.
Other starters blanketed a crab cake with curried mayo and pickled kohlrabi; at the same time, a few crisp brawn got here armed with each pickle and piccalilli. Brawn, or head cheese, is made from the wealthy, flavourful, gelatinous meat from a pig’s head, which all chefs swear is the quality bit. It won’t be to everybody’s taste, but if you’ve ever eaten a reasonably-priced sausage, I’m sure I’ve eaten much worse. We were delighted with a bowl of accurate, fresh, perfectly judged Cornish mussels in a rich, piquant, cider-and-cream broth, which Charles selected and I swiped with a long spoon.
The Kenny, I felt after my first white peach bellini, in the form of the pub that offers you a crisis of judgment of right and wrong, approximately flagging it as much as the out-of-doors world. The locals are so satisfied right now with this space, which is a ways from huge. It’s welcoming, an open-kitchen back room that’s peppered with peculiar, culinary-themed art and staffed with the aid of folks that are a long way, some distance greater superb than they want to be for a pub as if this were the Mirabelle in the late Nineteen Nineties.
The Kenny is cleanly saved with non-sticky tables, spotless bathrooms, and cozy banquettes that no longer have gravy. It has the entirety a boozer should have, aside from, perhaps, a disheveled-faced pub dog ambling approximately and begging for crisps. We drank Dashwood Pinot Gris from New Zealand at £7 a pitcher and waited for what is thought on the menu as “The Main Event”. Charles had medium-rare dry-elderly Hereford pork rump – thick, pinky-red slices, with fluffy, mild Yorkshire pudding, crisp, plump, roast potatoes, purple cabbage, and one of those carrots which might be so fancy, they provide you with simplest one.
I located my nirvana in a heavenly sweet potato and chestnut wellington: tender, candy, nutty, and perfectly seasoned, with superb pastry. I have tasted some beastly vegetarian wellingtons in my time. However, this one restored my faith. Supermarkets putting together their Christmas food services may want to learn from The Kenny and save veggie fanatics from every other Yule consuming what tastes like budgie feed wrapped in the Dead Sea scrolls.
We shared a tremendously memorable frangipane tart for pudding, a deconstructed Bakewell of sorts, with tonka bean ice cream, which I usually think of as wicked, next-degree vanilla. I left The Kenny full to the brim of deliciousness and on foot like a pregnant penguin. This little nook of Redland received my belly, which then gained my heart.
• The Kensington Arms 35-37 Stanley Road, Bristol, 0117 944 6444. Open lunch all week, midday-2.30pm (3 pm Sat, 7 pm Sun); dinner Mon-Sat, 6-9 pm (nine.30pm Fri & Sat). About £30 ahead for three courses à la carte; set weekday lunch £12 for two publications, £15 for 3; set Sunday lunch £22 for two magazines, £26 for 3, all plus beverages and service.