Review: The Almanack, Kenilworth
By Tracey Saunders
On a sunny Saturday afternoon my partner and I went over to Kenilworth for lunch at The Almanack. My partner was slightly put off by the restaurant’s location – on the ground floor of a small block of flats, with an all-glass exterior looking out onto a main road – but once inside the newly refurbished interior had more of the country chic style you associate with owner Peach Pubs.
With head chef Rob Hartwell coming over from the Rose & Crown in Warwick, I couldn’t wait to see the new menu, but my partner was sidetracked at the bar by a sausage roll (made with Aubrey Allen’s Warwickshire Whizzer sausage) and dollop of piccalilli (£2.75).
He then dived into the Brunch Menu for his starter of corned beef hash and a fried free-range egg (£7). While I admired the bright pink colour he raved about the quality and quantity of shredded meat, with only a hint of potato – just the way he likes it.
My starter – dressed Brixham crab, spring onion and tomato salad with a preserved lemon dressing (£8) – was essentially lettuce leaves smothered in creamy crab, but it was a very tasty appetiser none the less, with the right balance of sweetness and citrus.
The Loch Duart salmon steak, with fennel and lemon rub (£16.50) was grilled to perfection and I added a serving of buttered courgettes, peas and beans to it (£3.50).
My partner’s eyes lit up when he saw the Cornish lamb shank with wilted garlic spinach and jus on the specials board (£16). As you’d expect from meat that had been slow-roasted overnight, it melted away from the bone and he loved it. He was too polite to ask for bread to mop up the jus but I knew that he was tempted!
From telling us about the raised strawberry beds to the cheese makers, our server James was super friendly and knowledgeable, leaving just the right amount of time between courses to refresh drinks and see how we were getting on.
We did the classic ‘we’re a bit full, but will have a look at the dessert menu anyway’, which didn’t fool anyone. My partner went for the lime cheesecake straight away. Normally I’m not a fan of cheesecake but the whipped centre in contrast to the blueberry glaze topping won me over.
The star of the dessert menu though is, without a doubt, the ‘dip your own’ succulent strawberries, with individual pots of dark Valrhona chocolate and whipped cream, with just a hint of vanilla – fabulous both in presentation and in content.
I genuinely wished that I hadn’t eaten so much as there is also a great selection of carefully selected cheeses, which are so often overlooked on a menu.
The quality of the food here is fantastic and the plush new furniture and décor have lifted what used to be an uninspiring space. With well-chosen menus of breakfast, brunch, lunch, sharing platters and dinner options, you can definitely have a convivial meal all day long at The Almanack in Kenilworth.
The Almanack, Abbey End North, Kenilworth CV8 1QJ, 01926 353637