Dining fit for royalty

In which we pay a visit to the Queen & Castle, Kenilworth.

If you haven’t spent much time in Kenilworth, you’re missing a trick. In addition to the magnificent castle itself, there’s a vibrant and interesting town centre. And now we can add dinner at the Queen and Castle to that list.

Easily found, the venue is opposite the castle, enabling you to work up an appetite walking there before for the meal ahead at the Queen and Castle. Newly renovated, the venue is a vibrant contrast of teal and pink, providing a beautiful backdrop for the culinary treats in store. The open pass to the kitchen gives a good view to the organisation within, and showed clear command of a busy evening’s service on the night we visited.

Olives kept us entertained awaiting a ‘small’ (actually generous) plate of pan-fried king prawns with chilli and feta. Their arrival at the table was preceded with a waft of chili, garlic and tomato so powerful that heads turned around the restaurant as it made its way from the pass. It was succulent and delicious. A rocket salad chosen as a second starter didn’t stint on pine nuts and capers, making it a similar flavour explosion.

For mains, the timeless classic of a chicken Caesar salad came packed with well-seasoned chicken and an excellent dressing. The Queen and Castle showcases how to do simple things well, and this was no exception.

One of our party with food allergies was given very helpful support to choose from the wider menu. The maple glazed pork belly with scallops came with the key elements of the pork, bordelaise sauce and scallops, supplemented with green vegetables and potatoes, with enough crackling for two to share (somewhat grudgingly). It was magnificent, and such a delight to find a kitchen flexible enough to adapt a dish to a customer’s needs so well. The memories of this still linger.

There was scant room for dessert, but we took a short break to accommodate the lemon meringue, raspberry and salted caramel cheesecake. The generous portion disappeared rapidly and was pronounced delicious. Our diner with allergies was delighted to find that the apple and rhubarb crumble was both dairy- and gluten free, and could be served with dairy-free vanilla ice cream. The crumble managed that great balance between being gooey and crispy.

The wine list is long enough to be varied and short enough to show an edited selection. There is also a good choice of cocktails from the familiar to the more unusual such as a blood orange and passion fruit Collins. A wide selection of premium gin and spritzes is also available.

We visited on a busy night, and were impressed with how the kitchen paced service during the course of the evening. The staff team was purposeful, observant and friendly, making a good combination for an excellent standard of service. We’ll be back.

We were guests of the Queen and Castle for our meal. Opinions are – as always – our own.