The Kensington Arms
The Kensington Arms is buried in the heart of residential Redland and is one of those pubs that you are unlikely to come across by chance. Cut off from Cotham by the railway line and not on any particular rat-run you’ll have to go looking for the Kenny, but well it’s worth the effort.
The feel is that of a classy country pub, it’s bustling with people and chatter and the warmth of the atmosphere makes up for the lack of a roaring log fire. The Kenny is not a spit and sawdust pub in any shape or form. It’s clean, smart and ‘posh’, catering for its well heeled local residents. I’ve heard some people refer to it as pretentious, but personally I like the fact that the bar staff are dressed like they are there to serve me food and wine and that I am greeted with a courteous smile rather than grungy disdain. You are waited on here and made to feel like a customer in a restaurant rather than a patron of a bar.
Outside the pub is nothing spectacular. There is a decked seating area which, when the sun is shining and the hanging baskets are in bloom, is lovely. For all other times of year it can be covered and heated so long as you don’t mind the environmental consequence. Inside the bar is split into a front bar area with some slightly cramped seating, a main dining room with a view of the kitchen and then there is further and slightly more formal seating upstairs. Space is not an issue, but this is a very popular pub so booking in advance is advised.
The food is very well portrayed on the menu, salt marsh raised lamb and acorn fed suckling pig tantalise you into coughing up over £14 per roast. Each comes with an accompaniment of veg and cauliflower cheese (though why the lamb eaters would want dauphinoise potatoes and cauliflower cheese may be debatable) as well as a decent helping of spuds. Portion size is good and you get a generous slab of very well cooked meat. I had the Herefordshire beef which was cooked rare and was very tasty. The lamb looked equally appealing though apparently it was difficult to tell if it had been reared on a salt marsh or the bracken cloaked valleys of South Wales.
To be critical the Yorkshire pudding wasn’t all that great as I think it had been cooked too hot, so it was basically crispy and empty, and the veg wasn’t that plentiful or tasty. The cauliflower cheese was nice too, but could have been cooked better with a little less or thicker cheesier sauce and more cauliflower.
As I’ve said in other reviews, if I am spending above the average on a roast it has to be amazing to warrant the additional cost. Here the beef was very tasty and generally being and eating in the pub was a good experience, however I just don’t feel that it was that spectacular for the cost.
Overall the Kenny scores highly as it is a great pub with a lovely roast, however I feel that with a little extra tweaking it could have been one of the best.