Italian food is comforting to the soul. The combination of rich sauces and light broths with beautifully tender seafood, delectable meat and of course pasta, fills me with joy. But it is hard to find an Italian restaurant that combines these delicacies both cooked and presented well, alongside a friendly atmosphere and restaurant that is decorated to appease your senses but still feel relaxed. And trust me, I have been to quite a few!
Deep in the heart of Faversham in Kent, a gentile and historic town, resides Posillipo. A visually stunning restaurant with views of the creek. The outside of the building sets the tone for the entire restaurant and the building is in keeping with the area which is something I always find appealing. Even in early Spring, where the leaves on the treas still haven't quite shown their beauty yet and the sky is grey, the restaurant still looks beautiful and from the outside and it is immaculately kept.
During the Summer months, the outside of the restaurant comes into it's own with al fresco dining presented with style.
As soon as you walk in, you are greeted warmly and courtesly but also formal enough to make you feel like you are important to them. A lot of restaurants get this mix wrong and either try to be too formal or too friendly. Posillipo makes you feel at ease as soon as you walk in and whether you want a relaxing lunch or a romantic evening meal, this single act of a warm welcome can really set the tone of your meal.
The restaurant itself is full of rustic charm. It isn't huge which adds to it's delights, but the tables, decor and the extensive bar all adds to the atmosphere to make you feel calm and relaxed. The restaurant I also have to say, was spotless. I could not see a speck of dust or an unpolished fork anywhere.
Our waiter was both charming and knowledgeable of the menu. Explaining the days specialties with confidence and warmth. We were not rushed into making a meal decision and our drinks were recommended by the staff, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
We decided to go for the sharing platter as our starter... Antipasto All'Italiana for two and the Focaccia Pomodoro with tomato, oregano and garlic.
Both were delicious. The Antipasto: a selection of Italian cured meats, chargrilled and marinated vegetables, buffalo mozzarella, parmigiano shavings, olives and bruschetta, had just the right balance of fresh to pickled and immediately woke up our tastebuds. The Pomodoro, well, I could have eaten that all day long, it was rich yet light and the tomato sauce, I have to say, was the best I have tasted in a long time.
For our main courses we chose Zuppa Di Pesce and Meatballs with Spinach. Both arrived with good portions and hot from the kitchen.
Zuppa Di Pesce is a mixed seafood and shellfish platter in a white wine and cherry tomato sauce. The seafood comprised of mussels, clams, 2 very large king prawns, crab, calamari, baby octopus and a large fillet of cod which I have to say, was exquisitely cooked. The sauce was of a velvety broth like consistency but incredibly rich. The indulgent broth matched with the seafood was a harmonious pairing as the seafood stood up to the broth incredibly well because it was so fresh. The dish came with 2 slices of bread, but because of the sheer amount of sauce I did ask for more bread. I refuse to waste sauce ;)
Meatballs are something we always like to try in any Italian eatery as I think you can judge a lot about an Italian restaurant on their meatballs. Posillipo meatballs were a good size, moist and flavourful with the perfect amount of seasoning and herbs to the meat. The tomato sauce was once again, rich but not heavy. The extra bread I ordered to nestle alongside my Zuppa Di Pesce became very useful with the sauce.
For dessert we indulged in the Italian classic, Tiramisu and also almond tart with strawberries.
I will let you into a little secret... I struggle with coffee. It is one of the very few things that I struggle with. In fact I can only really think of two things I dislike that that is some, not all but some, coffees and turkish delight (how does anyone eat that?!). Anything else, no matter how weird or wonderful it is (insects, offal, brains, sheep eyes etc) I will eat, but turkish delight... no thank you! But in the case of an Italian restaurant, you should always try their Tiramisu, and I am very glad I did. The luxuriously whipped mascarpone cheese mixed with espresso and chocolate, heavenly, just heavenly. And what I particularly liked was that even though the coffee was indeed strong, as it it should be, it wasn't bitter and it didn't overpower the taste of the mascarpone or cocoa powder.
The almond tart was a rather large portion, not that we were complaining as it was delicious and homely. The tart itself was dense with an almost soft suet like texture with a filling of fruit compote. Topped with toasted flaked almonds, served with fresh strawberries and chocolate sauce, this was certainly a comforting dessert.
We were not rushed at any time throughout our meal and were left alone enough to be able to chat and relax but also our waiter was attentive enough to make sure we always had everything we needed.
A wonderful way to spend a lunchtime and so much so, I booked the restaurant for next week as the location for my birthday celebrations as we left. You really can not get a better recommendation from a restaurant critic than that, now can you?
You can find the Posillipo restaurant website here: http://posillipo.squarespace.com/