Review – The Kensington Arms

I went to the Kenny two weeks ago and since then it has experienced a serious fire. I wish it well and look forward to a swift resumption of its restaurant business which is one of Bristol’s finest.
Review – The Kensington Arms
‘Why don’t you ALL come and stay with me in Bristol next time we meet up,’  I slurred drunkenly after a weekend away 6 months ago with 5 old friends in London. ‘Never been to Bristol? It’s AMAZING! We’ll have a GREAT time. Foodie heaven. We can walk to lots of really good places to eat! Lots going on. No place like it…’
And so I sealed my fate.  6 months later had arrived. And I didn’t have a clue what to do with them. Me and my big drunken mouth!
First on my list of things to do was book a restaurant for the Saturday night. ‘Foodie heaven’, I’d boasted. So many places to walk to. Suddenly all the perfectly pleasant places that I’d boasted about didn’t seem that celestial after all.
Then it came to me. The Kensington Arms.

I’ve always loved The Kensington Arms!  Time to reacquaint myself with this gem of a gastropub nestling in the heart of residential Redland.

On the corner of Stanley Road, BS6 6NP
On the corner of Stanley Road, BS6 6NP

As we entered I knew that I’d chosen the right place. So far, so good. The atmosphere was busy, buzzy and relaxed. Stylishly lively.

As for the menu, it was sophisticated and accessible with two vegetarian starters and two vegetarian mains. IMG_1182[1]In the unlikely event of nothing taking your fancy on this menu you could also have chosen from the bar menu.

The starters were presented beautifully and apart from a fulsome ‘delicious’ here and a  ‘so good’ there, the silence that accompanies appreciative enjoyment reigned (at least at our table for a while) while we ate them.

The starters

The mains

Again, these were ‘so good’.

I went for the spring chicken (after having ascertained that pied-de-bleu is a type of cheese). It was, again, ‘delicious’ – a wholly inadequate description for what the dish tasted like.  Suffice to say, it had a depth and richness that demanded that I savour every mouthful. And I did.

No space for pudding. But we agreed to look at the menu just to be polite.IMG_1206[1]

The desserts

My photos don’t do them justice.  But believe me when I say that they looked beautiful and tasted divine (we each had a spoonful of one anothers).

It only seemed right to try the cheese too. I went for the ‘fourme d’Ambert’ , a French blue.

IMG_1214[1]Creamy and tangy, it was a wonderful end to a  great meal. Although, as I looked bleary-eyed at the end of the table, I was greedily jealous of Martin’s three cheese extravaganza.

At the end of the evening I was so pleased. So pleased that we had gone to the Kensington Arms and tasted a bit of foodie heaven. And so pleased that I’d chosen the Kenny to represent all the boasts I’d made for Bristol!

But, sometimes I find fulsome praise food reviews not altogether helpful. I mean, when would the Kensington Arms not be ideal? And what could it do to be even better?

Not suitable for: I once took a friend to the Kensington Arms for her birthday. I chose it because of the food. I didn’t even take into account the fact that she is hard of hearing. The Kensington Arms is ‘buzzy’, ‘lively’. Noisy. And so not ideal for those who prefer a quiet meal out. When I’m looking for a place to go I like to know how appropriate it will be for the occasion and the people with whom I’m going.  I love the Kenny but it’s not perfect for everyone. If you’re planning on taking someone who prefers a quiet meal out then this isn’t for you.

Could do better: the service was fine. But I’ve eaten out a lot recently and the friendliness of the waiting staff can make food that’s ok seem great, and render food that’s great a little bitter. For a place that does food as wonderful as the food at the Kenny it could up its service game a little and earn even greater plaudits. It deserves them.

The Kensington Arms    FACTFILE

The Kensington Arms 35-37 Stanley Road Redland Bristol BS6 6NP tel: 0117 944 6444
For more information e-mail – email: info@thekensingtonarms.co.uk

Kitchen opening times:     Monday to Friday: 12-3 / 6-10    Saturday: 10-3 / 6-10      Sunday 12-4 / 6-9

Bristol Good food award winners ‘Best Pub Food’ 2012, 2013 & 2014

Affectionately known as ‘The Kenny’

 

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