At The Kensington Arms in Redland, I’m acutely conscious that I’m the ultimate face any kitchen brigade wants to see over an extended bank excursion weekend. This boozer, a few miles from Bristol city center, had been cited to me by using food-fans several times, and the phrases “conventional” and “proper” featured regularly, as did “dependably first-rate Sunday lunch”. We all need one of these up our sleeve: there’s no longer a hassle within the world that roast potatoes and gravy do now not enhance. Aside from, perhaps, gout, although by using that level you could as well crack on.
The Kenny, as it’s affectionately called, is one of the modern tasks of chef Josh Eggleton, whom I met throughout a judging desk on BBC2’s Great British Menu. It turned into the series celebrating “splendid Britons”, in which cooks queued as much as therapy trout in tribute to their forefathers and gift puddings symbolizing the Windrush. Eggleton, I found out here, in the face at the back of the Michelin-starred USA pub The Pony & Trap in Chew Magna, and changed into an interestingly humble culinary genius, as well as a restaurant entrepreneur who has opened some of chip shops and bistros around the Bristol vicinity.
Still, all through TV competitions, wherein cooks are driven to be showy, thematic or to “prepare dinner outside their consolation sector”, I regularly lengthy to taste the form of food they suppose is scrumptious after they’re not being asked to make fantastic small screen television. 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 appropriate salted butter”, however by God, from time to time I want they might. A girl can bear only 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 precisely this sincere leek-and-spud pottage. It is velvety, aromatic and balm-like. It reminds me of the folly of how, in latest decades, Brits had been made to sense sheepish over latest many years approximately selecting soup as a starter, as though it’s simplest one step up from that different traditional Nineteen Seventies opening act, “a pitcher of pasteurized orange juice”. The Kenny has the soup to change all of that.
Other starters protected a crab cake with curried mayo and pickled kohlrabi, while some crisp brawn came 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 exceptional bit. It may not be to be each person’s flavor, however, if you’ve ever eaten a cheap sausage, I’m fairly sure you’ve fed on much worse.
We have been thrilled with a bowl of desirable, sparkling, flawlessly judged Cornish mussels in a wealthy, piquant, cider-and-cream broth, which Charles selected and which I pilfered with an extended spoon.
The Kenny, I felt after my first white peach bellini, is the sort of pub that offers you a crisis of moral sense approximately flagging it up to the outside global. The locals are so happy proper now in this area, that’s far 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 ways, far more amazing than they want to be for a pub, as if this had been the Mirabelle inside the overdue Nineteen Nineties.
The Kenny is cleanly kept with non-sticky tables, spotless bathrooms and secure banquettes that have not as but been spattered with gravy. It has everything a boozer must have, other than, perhaps, a saggy-confronted pub canine ambling approximately and begging 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 red meat rump – thick, pinky-crimson slices, with fluffy, light Yorkshire pudding, crisp, plump, roast potatoes, crimson cabbage and one of those carrots that are so fancy, they come up with most effective one.
I observed my very own nirvana in a heavenly sweet potato and chestnut wellington: soft, sweet, nutty and perfectly pro, with glorious pastry. I have tasted a few beastly vegetarian wellingtons in my time, however, this one restored my religion. In truth, supermarkets placing collectively their Christmas meals offerings ought to research from The Kenny and keep veggie food enthusiasts from some other Yule consuming what tastes like budgie feed wrapped in the Dead Sea scrolls.
For pudding, we shared an extraordinarily memorable frangipane tart, a deconstructed Bakewell of types, with tonka bean ice-cream, which I constantly think of as a type of depraved, next-level vanilla. I left The Kenny complete to the brim of deliciousness and walking like a pregnant penguin. This little nook of Redland gained my stomach, after which it received my heart.
• The Kensington Arms 35-37 Stanley Road, Bristol, 0117 944 6444. Open lunch all week, midday-2.30pm (3pm Sat, 7pm Sun); dinner Mon-Sat, 6-9pm (nine.30pm Fri & Sat). About £30 ahead for three publications à l. A. Carte; set weekday lunch £12 for two courses, £15 for three; set Sunday lunch £22 for two courses, £26 for three, all plus drinks and carrier.