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The Cross at Kenilworth Review

Visited September 2015

The Cross at Kenilworth

I recently took a trip down the M6 to visit some family in Kenilworth. It really is a rather nice part of the world, complete with beautiful thatch cottages and the very impressive ruins of Kenilworth Castle. Amongst a number of very fine looking pubs sits The Cross; originally a nineteenth century inn, now a beautifully refurbished pub slash restaurant. It was there I headed for Saturday lunch with my wife and young daughter.

We were a little early for our 12:00 reservation and no one seemed particularly interested in speaking to us as we waited at the restaurant reception area, but eventually a gentleman did come and say hello and we were shown to the main dining room. Like a lot of the best food pubs we've eaten at in the past few months, the place really is quite impressive inside and immaculately finished. It really does make such a difference. The child friendly nature of the venue was also immediately apparent, as a children's menu with drawing games and a box of crayons were produced.

In terms of drinks, there's a decent selection of cocktails including four or five non-alcoholic offerings which was good to see, as well as a more than reasonable wine list. My wife enjoyed her alcohol free afternoon but my raspberry mojito towards the end of the meal was less than stellar. Regardless, we were of course there in expectation of some splendid food. With all menus available at lunch (lunch, carte and tasting) there was plenty of choice which I always think is such a positive rather than limiting lunch guests to a single menu. The tasting menu did look tempting, but we're not so cruel as to expect our daughter to sit through that, so the carte it was.

After some OK bread, lunch began for me with scallop ravioli. It was a delicate, well executed dish but in a clear effort not to overpower the scallops, the accompanying tomato sauce was lacklustre and a bit bland in all honesty; there was certainly room to take the flavour up a notch. The black foot pork main course however was a very impressive plate of food, beautifully presented and the pork was cooked to absolute perfection, delicious. The only slightly disappointing part of the dish was the black pudding which lacked the flavour punch I'd been expecting. My wife up until this point had enjoyed a very nice crispy duck to start but a slightly disappointing wood pigeon main course.

Dessert of a chocolate sphere with some goodies inside was another perfectly edible dish which I quite enjoyed and my wife had the strawberry dish which was certainly... full of strawberries. Whilst the food overall was not quite to the standard I had hoped, the service throughout the meal was outstanding. It's an impressive achievement to be able to offer such high level service in a genuinely child friendly venue. In short, The Cross is a very good restaurant and a suitably relaxed place for an enjoyable, high quality meal.

Dress Code

None. It's a very relaxed venue.

Top Tip

Very child friendly venue. Decent amount of parking on site.

Guide Ratings

I think the Good Food Guide have this right in their recently released 2016 edition. The AA need to pay a visit, but for me the food wasn't quite worthy of that Michelin star.
Ratings Michelin Guide AA Guide Good Food Guide
At time of review Michelin Star - 5
Our view Listed AA RosetteAA RosetteAA Rosette 5

Group size: 2 adults & 1 child. Total bill (including service): £141.