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Restaurants & Bars 2

Kensington Bistro - House-made blue cheese potato chips & apricot-ginger mimosas

rworange | May 29, 200603:14 AM

Break out of that Solano Avenue, San Pablo, Gilman breakfast rut. I’ve tried almost ever breakfast joint in this neck of the East Bay and I haven’t had a breakfast as satisfying as Kensington Bistro.


- the world’s best scone … yes … WORLD’S BEST … and I’ve been to England
- The Number Nine … two potato and bacon pancakes topped with poached egg and watercress hollandaise with house-made English muffin bread (outstanding)
- apricot-ginger mimosa
- coffee

As I was leaving I noticed some of the best looking sticky buns next to the world-class scones (only available Sunday).

That English muffin bread was quite excellent, dense and yeasty. Topped with what I assume is house-made orange marmalade … sheer bliss. The bread is available for sale by the loaf.

If they were open for dinner on Sunday I would have come back. On Sunday’s the last serving is around 1:30 and I seriously considered maybe coming back. Just too full … ok, I really got caught up shopping those Memorial Day sales.

The scone was take-out and I had it for lunch. Since they only made them on Sunday it seemed a good idea to get one. It just stopped me dead. It was as light as a pickpockets fingers … as light as the conscience of Enron execs … just can’t come up with a good simile.

It was super light and the outside had the most delicate crunch with a gentle sprinkling of sugar. If the place wasn’t closed by time I ate the scone, I would have went back and bought more … and a loaf of bread … and a sticky bun.

Although I didn’t detect the bacon in the thin crispy potato pancakes, they were an excellent thin version. They are very similar to Towns End potato pancakes, but so much better. The hollandaise sauce with watercress was lovely and tasty. A few sprigs of fresh cress decorated the plate. A little fruit cup came with the breakfast, but was only average.

The ginger-apricot mimosa sounded better than the reality. It was good, the rim decorated with a piece of dried apricot speared with fresh mint, but I wouldn’t order it again. They are really into mimosas here and had a few different types

- regular mimosa
- house-made lemonade mimosa
- pomegranate mimosa
- sparkling peach mimosa
- raspberry puree mimosa

In addition to coming back for the blue cheese chips, I wanted to get the bistro burger on an Acme bun with blue cheese cole slaw. They are really into blue cheese here. The menu says cheese is $1 extra. I suppose blue cheese is available for the burger.

A basket of the plain chips is $4.50. With blue cheese added it is $6.

Being in the city of Kensington and all, they do serve a traditional English breakfast – two fried eggs, one banger, sliced back bacon, Heinz English baked beans, grilled tomato, home fries and baked English muffin toast. That’s the next breakfast I try … with the lemonade mimosa.

Omelets come either with home fries or a green salad. That is a nice option to have for a healthier breakfast. I suppose ordering the blue cheese omelet would cancel any health benefits … wonder if that salad can come with blue cheese dressing.

They have some nice breakfast sandwiches during the week like a egg salad and bacon sandwich. Their take on the egg Mcmuffin is English muffin with melted cheese, sliced tomato, and choice of either back bacon or roasted turnkey. That sounds so much tastier.

I noticed in their beverage list that they sell Hank’s root beer which I haven’t seen in this area in a long time.

Lunch items include house-made soup - creamy chicken tortilla with jack cheese, black bean salsa and tortilla chips, spicy pork and beef chili and a soup of the day.

An interesting sounding sandwich is the Bavarian Rueben – sliced ham, Gouda cheese, caramelized onions, and sliced apples on black bread … sigh, and they are closed until Wednesday.

They have jack or cheddar quesadillas (don’t forget it IS Kensington, therefore cheddar). For an extra charge there are the choice of the following; grilled chicken, shrimp, black beans, avocado, tomato, zucchini, spinach, onions, cilantro, corn or mushrooms.

Dinner includes some pasta, chicken of the day, steak of the day, fish of the day, baby back ribs with house-made BBQ sauce.

An excellent sounding appetizer is the artichoke and crab gratin.

Specials are written on a white board. One of today’s specials was strawberry cheesecake pancakes. With a bow to Jodie’s in Albany, another special was ‘a plate full of nothing’

It is a comfortable restaurant on three levels in peach and terra cotta colors. Two steps separate each level. There are also sidewalk tables. There’s a comfy four seat bar at the entrance. I sat on the second level, but the Chronicle review below mentions a children’s play area on the third level.

The owners also run Lunch-N-Munch which provides fresh, healthy school lunches to the Bay Area.


Kensington Bistro
(510) 525-1350
1568 Oakview Ave.
Kensington, CA 94707

Lunch 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Wednesday-Friday;
Brunch 8 a.m.- 1:30 p.m. weekends;
Dinner 5:30 -9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday;

Link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

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