Kenilworth’s popular gastropub The Almanack is serving a new menu that you can tuck into from noon till 10pm.
Head chef Jakub Fijak’s dishes include free-range flat iron chicken and skinny chips, classic smoked haddock fish cakes with soft poached egg, slow roasted Cornish lamb shanks, pan-fried scallops with pork croquettes and the grilled Cornish mackerel with warm potato, red onion and cucumber salad.
He’s also put together a collection of small pots for mixing and matching to make up your own tapas. Think British-style deli pots – smoked mackerel pâté with soused cucumber; sesame-crusted halloumi with peanuts and Blythbrugh pork croquettes with apple sauce.
You can also enjoy £15 off when you dine any weekday before 10th February, just quote ‘New Year’s Treat’ when you book at The Almanac.
Apart from the deli boards at The Almanac and cocktails at The Kenilworth, I’m always at a bit of a loss at where to go to eat and drink in Kenilworth.
The Cross is spectacular, but not an everyday venue, so I’m hoping that the opening of Number 11 Restaurant may help bridge the gap between snacks and full blow-out Michelin star meals.
The former Beef restaurant on Warwick Road has been given a makeover by the new co-owner chef Amir Dilba. Amir was born in Leamington Spa and worked with the brigade at Mallory Court before becoming Head Chef at Beef. Last year the opportunity to buy Beef from Andreas Antona came up, so Amir and restaurant manager Shireen Sabedien siezed the chance to open their own restaurant.
Number 11 will open for brunch, lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday. Diners can expect a relaxed, friendly, neighbourhood restaurant serving brunch classics such as eggs Benedict and more restaurant style dishes such as scallops, black pudding, pancetta and pea purée. Burgers with all the trimmings start at £9.50 with beef cuts at £14.50 and an early bird midweek supper of two courses for £15.95.
Number 11 Restaurant opens this weekend and I wish Amir and Shireen the best of luck with this new restaurant in Kenilworth.
Last weekend was the end of Foodie Fortnight, which coincided with Oktoberfest, so Kenilworth High Street was closed to traffic and filled with food stalls and live music.
The little street was packed with locals enjoying a pint outside The Virgins and Castle pub. This is one of the oldest pubs in Warwickshire, built in the late fifteenth century and first used as a pub in 1563.
As well as the historical background this pub is a popular attraction as they serve Filipino food, using fresh local ingredients. Their stall was serving crispy belly of pork with Filipino style vegetables and beef curry. On their regular menu, I liked the sound of chicken and pork adobo – slow cooked chicken and belly of pork marinated in soy sauce, cane vinegar, garlic and peppercorns.
We had a quick drink in The Old Bakery the cosy oak-beamed pub a couple of doors up from Loch Fyne, before we walked into the town centre to do some food shopping and eat.
The parsnip and cheddar croquettes from the veggie sharing board are one of my favourite things about The Almanac. This gastro pub is part of the Peach Pubs family and serves food all day, but we walked past enroute to Pomeroys Bar and Bistro for brunch.
As my partner demolished a full English breakfast I went for a lighter avocado, mushrooms, tomato and poached egg on toast. He liked the high backed booths and relaxed atmosphere and wanted to come back for dinner, but we had shopping to do first.
We finished our afternoon with coffee and cake in the cherry red Ardens coffee shop. As part of the Kenilworth Pudding trail they were selling fresh scones with jam and cream for a bargain £1, which we couldn’t say no to.
Coventry-born Matt Palmer, who has cooked with some of the top chefs in London including Michel Roux Junior at le Gavroche, has returned to his roots and joined The Almanack in Kenilworth as head chef.
Matt says: “I love honest, British food that celebrates the fantastic fresh produce we have in this country. Classic and modern dishes influenced by the classics and the classical training I have had are a big part of my cooking and I love making amazing desserts, too – I’m passionate about puddings!”
At the moment, his version of Eton Mess, or Eton Tidy as he calls it, is becoming a star on The Almanac’s menu. It’s an empty glass bowl on a board with a selection of Evesham strawberries, raspberries, home-made meringues and Chantilly cream in separate bowls. You dip into the bowls to make your own personalised version of this great British classic. So you can max out on the fruit and go easy on the meringue, or toss the whole lot into a bowl and mix it up just as you like it.
The Almanac in Kenilworth is hosting a Celebrity Waiters Night on 30th August, with Ian Bell, to raise funds for Acorns. The three course dinner, with a glass of fizz, starts at 7pm for £20. http://www.thealmanack-kenilworth.co.uk
Still a week left to enjoy sweet native 1lb whole lobster £15 with fries or a summer salad at Opus restaurant (until Saturday 1st September.) http://www.opusrestaurant.co.uk
If you still need to squeeze into summer holiday clothes, then the Low Cal menu at Essence in Alcester and Stratford could still sate your appetite. Pre-book in advance at http://www.eatatessence.co.uk
Restaurants taking their summer breaks include Edmunds in Brindleyplace (Tuesday 7th – 14th August) and in Kenilworth Petit Gourmand (Sunday 29th July to Tuesday 14th August.)
Lasan in the Jewellery Quarter has teamed up with Birmingham brewer Aston Manor Cider to recommend cider varieties paired with their dishes. For a Lamb Rogan Josh recipe see http://visitbirmingham.com/media-centre/press-releases/can-you-handle-the-heat/ for details.
Café Gnosh in Rugby is celebrating British Food Fortnight with a special three course dinner and a glass of wine for £20 until 12th August. www.facebook.com/cafegnosh
Congratulations to The Almanac in Kenilworth who have been awarded a one star rating by the Sustainable Restaurant association for their ethical sourcing policy. http://www.the-almanac-kenilworth.co.uk