At The Kensington Arms in Redland, I’m acutely aware that I’m the last face any kitchen brigade wants to see over a protracted financial institution excursion weekend. This boozer, a few miles from Bristol metropolis center, had been referred to me via food-fans several instances, and the words “traditional” and “proper” frequently featured, as did “dependably superb Sunday lunch.” We all need one of these up our sleeve: there’s no longer trouble in the international that roast potatoes and gravy do no longer improve. Aside from, perhaps, gout, though via that stage, you could as properly crack on.
The Kenny, because it’s affectionately referred to as, is one of chef Josh Eggleton’s cutting-edge projects, whom I met across a judging desk on BBC2’s Great British Menu. It turned into the collection celebrating “high-quality Britons,” in which cooks queued as much as 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 country pub The Pony & Trap in Chew Magna, and turned into an interestingly humble culinary genius, in addition to a restaurant entrepreneur who has opened some of the chip stores and bistros around the Bristol region.
Still, at some stage in TV competitions, in which cooks are pushed to be showy, thematic or to “cook dinner out of doors their comfort region,” I frequently lengthy to flavor the kind of food they think is delicious when they’re now not 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 clean sourdough and properly salted butter,” however by way of God, every so often, I wish they would. A girl can endure 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 single-sheet Sunday lunch menu begins with exactly this honest leek-and-spud pottage. It is velvety, aromatic, and balm-like. It strikes a chord in my memory of the folly of how, in recent decades, Brits were made to experience sheepish over latest decades about choosing soup as a starter, as if it’s most effective one step up from that other traditional Seventies opening act, “a glass of pasteurized orange juice.” The Kenny has the soup to exchange all of that.
Other starters covered a crab cake with curried mayo and pickled kohlrabi, while a few 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 nice bit. It may not be to be all of us’s flavor, but if you’ve ever eaten a cheap sausage, I’m fairly certain you’ve consumed a great deal worse.
We were extremely joyful with a bowl of excellent, sparkling, 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 kind of pub that offers you a disaster of sense of right and wrong about flagging it as much as the outdoor global. The locals are so happy right now in this space, which is a ways from gargantuan, and its welcoming, open-kitchen returned room that’s peppered with bizarre, culinary-themed art and staffed with the aid of people who are far, a long way more super than they need to be for a pub as if this had been the Mirabelle within the overdue Nineties.
The Kenny is cleanly stored with non-sticky tables, spotless bogs, and relaxed banquettes that have now not as but been spattered with gravy. It has the whole lot a boozer ought to have, apart from, perhaps, a disheveled-faced pub dog ambling about and begging crisps.
We drank Dashwood Pinot Gris from New Zealand at £7 a glass and waited for what is known on the menu as “The Main Event.” Charles had medium-uncommon dry-elderly Hereford red meat rump – thick, pinky-purple slices, with fluffy, mild Yorkshire pudding, crisp, plump, roast potatoes, purple cabbage and one of those carrots which can be so fancy, they give you best one.