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Kensington where?

December 9, 2006

Kensington, California, to be sure, and the Kensington Circus Pub to be exact.
Pub
The details:

389 Colusa Ave
Kensington, CA 94707-1208
510.524.8814
Map it here.

Some say the play area stacked with old toys is the best reason to go to the Circus Pub. Others mention the kid-tolerant attitude of the waitstaff and management as their primary reason while still others mention only the Sticky Toffee Pudding with caramel sauce, Butter Crunch ice cream and whipped cream. Those who speak for me though see beyond the kids and the sugary treats and the high-strung atmosphere and see a classic, homestyle British Pub menu with an excellent complement of brews, both local and imported.

Those with appetites that don’t stretch all the way to Bangers ‘n Mash including two nitrate-free pork sausages from their un-named supplier in Orinda, with mashed potatoes, sauce and veg, can delight in baked Shepherd’s Pie with spiced ground lamb, mashers and cheddar cheese, and can find solace in the standard accoutrements of any ol’ pub in the US of A. Namely, they’ve got all of your standard burgers (which some claim to be the best in the East Bay,) green and ceasar salads and an assortment of not so expected items…Chicken ShuMai? Wha Wha? They got that covered, and though it might be the best ShuMai this side of Daly City, I wouldn’t know, because who’s coming here for the ShuMai? Not me.

Q: So if it’s not for the toys, the toffee or the tolerance, why do I go to the Kensington Circus Pub, and why am I suggesting that you should too?

A: Two and a half words. Fish ‘n Chips.

Hand cut fries, classic, rich tartar sauce with pickle relish in it, cole slaw and 6 pieces (in the full Circus size, 4 in the Pub size) of Icelandic Cod with that gossamer thin crust that can only be achieved by someone who fries alot of fish night after night. We’re not talking about fish that looks like it floated in beer batter for the afternoon, nor are we talking about fish that looks like it was fried in tempura…It’s just nicely crisped, light-golden brown deliciousness surrounding chunks of perfectly cooked cod. I was at Murphy’s in San Franciso the other night, and although they do a decent chips plate, it’s the normal American version. Too much batter and too much fryer. The Circus Pub however…they got it down.

I’m a pretty simple guy when you get right to it. Sure I can appreciate the nuances of a highly rated restaurant, and I’m a sucker for anything with coquilles ste. jacques in it, but I judge a place on its own merits. That being said, we can’t all be Gandhi, and not all restaurants need to be haute-cuisine experiences. However, the aforementioned chips were pretty darned good. Even if I didn’t care for the slaw. I’m picky about my cabbage.

Don’t take my word for it though…There’s more than just me who’ll brave the kiddies for a taste of ‘ol Mother England.

My drink suggestion would be the Fuller’s ESB, with Boddington’s coming in a fairly close second. The Guinness pour is alright, but like my cabbage, I’m picky about my Guinness.

Cheers mate, and bollocks to you all!
Pub II

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