The new WWII thriller “Dunkirk” is released on 21 July,commemorating the daring and valiant actions of all those involved in the evacuation of thousands of troops from the beaches of Dunkirk in 1940, who were under constant attack from German aircraft and guns.
The evacuation involved an odd assortment of yachts, motor cruisers, fishing boats and other small craft which were able to sail close enough to Dunkirk’s beaches to pick up troops and ferry them to the waiting freighters, passenger ships and warships, or back to the Kentish harbours.
The blockbuster puts the spotlight on Kent, the Garden of England, which is within easy reach of Belgium and anyone visiting this corner of England should make a beeline for the pretty village of Tenterden, home to Montalbano, a wonderful Italian restaurant.
It is run by Sicily-born Salvatore Sciacca (appropriately, the name of a Sicilian southern town) and his wife Ana, who comes from Romania.
The go ahead and friendly couple, backed by a very energetic and welcoming team, have transformed a restaurant that had previously had a chequered history and, in fact, been closed for over two years.
The pair had never actually run a restaurant themselves but, with Salvatore having working in the trade for some time (and with a family tradition in the horeca sector back in his native Italy), they decided to take the plunge.
After investing an awful lot of time and effort in the project, they are now rightly reaping the rewards with the restaurant’s reputation for fine Italian cuisine spreading far and wide (people travel some distance to dine there).
Salvatore, who had previously worked in a five-star hotel in Switzerland and also ran his own bar in Sicily, has brought all his wide experience and know-how to bear in helping to make the couple’s new venture such a roaring success.
Ana’s background lies in hospitality (she worked for a leading hotel chain for years) and, here, she takes a front-of-house role to give diners a particularly warm welcome.
This lovely family run restaurant reflects the family’s passion and tradition for great food.
The menu is a mix of regional and authentic Italian dishes, such as pan-fried veal, with touches of the very southern part of Italy: Sicily.
There’s also a nice selection of more “local” food, such as very tasty Welsh lamb and British beef.
The aim is “to bring the warmth of the south of Italy and delight guests with great traditional homemade flavours.”
On that, they very much succeed. Using (wherever possible) only the best local produce, the chef has cast his magic Italian wand over a range of delightful offerings, including fine homemade pasta and mouth-watering fish and meat dishes.
Despite the high quality, prices are very affordable and reasonable while both the décor and ambience is smart and sensitive without being stiff and starchy.
With the Dunkirk evacuation back in the news, there’s every reason to discover this pleasant part of England.
But no visit to Tenterden, one of the prettiest South East villages, is really complete with sampling the delights of Montalbano.