This is one of the few reviews of a restaurant revisit that has been done here but having been so impressed by the food at The Kenny (as referred to by its locals) several times before; I was eagerly looking forward to going back again. The pub had recently reopened in October following a 6 months closure and refurbishment because of a fire. Revisiting the premises again this time was reassuringly positive to see much of the interiors had not changed.
To start off our dinner we order a half dozen rock oysters (£12.95) and this was served with shallot red wine vinegar size and lemon. The oysters were fresh and well prepared and this preparation process is so important when opening them carefully to avoid any traces of shell getting inside. Although I am aware that oysters come in many sizes, I did feel some of size variation was slightly off as serving oysters in a restaurant should have tighter consistency in size.
In the second starter, we ordered the Game faggot & crushed roots (£7.00). This was an unusual choice as faggots generally do not appear on restaurant menus but that only made it all the more interesting to try out. One of the more interesting aspects of faggots is that it is noted for its liver like taste and when describing what is the taste of game? Many people would describe its taste similar to liver or kidney like or well hung aged meat. To find similar taste qualities in both ingredients within one dish was what made this so curious to try. As consistent with game meats, it was lean with a robust taste. The starter was generously portioned but perhaps it slightly too meaty as a starter and having more vegetables might made it a more balanced starter course. I believed this would have made an excellent main course and what a firecracker of a dish this would have been when enjoying with a glass of full bodied red wine.
For the main courses, we ordered the Fallow deer, celeriac, chicory & chestnut (£16.00). This was cooked perfectly with its pink centre. The texture of the meat could have been slightly tenderer but when paired with the rich chestnut sauce; not only did it bring out the flavour of the meat but also elevated the dish to a new level. This main course was of good portion and size and when you reflect the balance of quality and price, it was indeed good value. The second main course we ordered was the Rare Onglet, chips and béarnaise (£16.00). Consistent to everything we had so far, it was of a good size and portion but not too overwhelming. The beef was carefully done not overcooked and it was very tender and consistent to how it should be served. One minor fault was that it was a touch too cold when it arrived at the table but otherwise it was a very satisfying steak.
For dessert, we ordered the Chocolate mousse, salted caramel & honeycomb (£7.00), even though this sounded like any ordinary readymade dessert available from supermarket shelves, I decided to give this a try given the previous dishes had turned out so well. The result was a light textured yet exceptionally rich chocolate mousse. This was a lot different to those creamy chocolate mousses I used to enjoy as a child but this was clearly a more sophisticated interpretation of a childhood classic now made purely for adults in mind. The mousse was much less sugary than what you might expect and adding the details of salted caramel and honeycomb bits just makes you want to keep munching without end.
The second dessert we ordered was the Sticky toffee pudding, vanilla ice cream & toffee sauce (£6.00) and having tasted this before their refurbishment, I had hoped this would be unchanged from the previous time I had it. I am genuinely delighted to inform that it is still just as good as it ever was. Served in a good and large portion, the pudding has what the perfect sponge is meant to be which is light, fluffy and moist. Each spoonful had a subtle hint of date and accompanied with the toffee sauce which was ideal and not overly sweet; this is one of the best desserts of this type I have had anywhere in the past few years.
Yet again, dinner at The Kenny was a very positive experience and seems to be slightly less expensive compared with prices before its refurbishment. As compared with how it was before, although some of details of the food have not quite matched to its previous high standards, I am convinced it will return to its rightful place soon enough.
The Kensington Arms
35-37 Stanley Road
Tel. 0117 944 6444