Written by Heather Brown & Fleurie Forbes-Martin
I am a fan of the Urban Guild chain but I have to admit to not venturing to Jenkins & Sons often and I was excited when I had the opportunity to visit this week, try their brand new menu and see what all the fuss was about!
Having lived just around the corner for a couple of years – I’d actually popped my head in the door quite a few times before. I have always relied on them to craft a perfectly balanced cocktail and back in my meat eating days, I enjoyed a hot roast dinner too. While we weren’t there to play games, I’d also recommend their pub quiz!
Jenkins & Sons is right in the middle of the bustling Penn Hill district of Poole. Housed within a former butcher, the facade is adorned with the original, beautiful Poole Pottery tiles and inside, the large bar area is open and welcoming. The bar itself is beautifully stocked with all manner of local gems – from local beers and ciders, carefully chosen wines and locally distilled spirits. Junk & Sons is managed by the lovely John, who both a friendly host and a little bit cheeky – the perfect combination to put you at ease for a marvellous evening.
Cheeky indeed. We felt warmly welcomed from the moment we stepped in the door and I think we both agree it was a combination of the cosy interior stylings and friendly greeting that caught us. It’s the kind of place you can enjoy a date, an evening with your family or an after-work drink with friends…
The Urban Guild chain has recently appointed a new exec Chef and we had the pleasure of speaking to him about all the delicious goings on at Jenkins & Sons as well as at the other restaurants across the brand. Ian Gibbs’ passion for food, local ingredients, producers and seasonality was simply uncontainable and it oozed out of everything he said. It was a delight to listen to all of his wild and big ideas for the restaurant as well as the new things already in the pipeline! For example, autumn will see a succession of Supper Clubs and events aimed at showing customers where the food comes from and how it is cooked.
Jenkins & Sons has also recently appointed a new chef in Matt Cook and he has already begun to shape the restaurant with his recently launched new menu. Focussing heavily on locally sourced, seasonal ingredients, both the menu and the specials were full of delicious, fresh choices. Able to react to what their suppliers are getting in fresh that day from the sea or the local farms, specials boards are already full of locally caught treats like lobster or seasonal vegetables from their farm in Sopley. These specials boards are a success and are already set to get bigger.
For my meal, I chose a Somerset Camembert starter with candied pecans and New Forest micro herbs, followed by lamb served pink with shoestring fries and a lovely chickpea, cucumber and tomato relish. My pudding was a fab peach strudel. Each course was beautifully cooked and a delightful combination of flavours, smells and textures – especially those shoestring fries! Yum.
But some of us have a smaller list of wants from our menu and unsurprisingly I was both excited and nervous about what they could offer vegans. First off, I was impressed that they had a few different options having built a reputation for their meat and fish offerings. To get things started, I opted for the vegan starter on the specials board, as recommend by John – field mushroom duxelles with aubergine crisp, spring onion and tomato oil…
I mean come on, is this luxuriously fine dining or what! Gourmet, I can promise you. Up next, I followed my heart and upgraded another starter option into my main – the avocado, quinoa and broad bean salad. Verdict – zesty and satisfying! A really powerful combination of flavours that would work brilliantly as a starter too.
However, it sounds as though I missed one of the stars on the menu (according to both manager John and chef Matt)… The vegetable grill?! Now no-one needs to tell me about the joy and versatility available to us from plants but truth be told, a vegetable grill sounded a little basic. Turns out it’s actually one of the more exciting options on offer. I shall simply have to visit once more to be sure…
And lastly from me (but my no means least), I’d like to give a special mention to the team as they bent over backwards to accommodate me when there wasn’t a sexy pudding suited to my needs. Presenting, J&S’s vegan answer to an Ice Cream Sundae ft. Mixed berries and a wrapping great serving of sorbet. My sugar high lasted for the rest of the night!
We had a marvellous evening, with friendly, attentive staff. Being able to listen to both the chefs and the staff excitedly talk about the restaurant and the brand as a whole was a joy and I for one, am excited to see what foodie things emerge!
Thank you to the entire team for great service, we had a blast and I’ll make sure I keep you in mind next time I’m after a plant-based bite to eat in Penn Hill!
Jenkins & Sons
7-8 Penn Hill Avenue
|Invited by PR company?||Yes|
|Guest of chef/restaurant/owner?||No|
|Restaurant/outlet knew ahead we were bloggers?||Yes|
|Was the meal complimentary from the restaurant?||Yes|
|Any complimentary items provided by restaurant/outlet?||No|