What: Modern Italian
Where: The Quarterdeck, Beach St, Deal, CT14 6HY
How much: Pizzas from under £10, up to £40 per head plus wine for three courses
If you’re a foodie social type you may have seen that Marina O Loughlin has been chatting good stuff about the Kent costal town of Deal in recent weeks. If you can stand the paywall look up her thoughts on The Times website, or take my word for it that Deal is a twee place on the shores of the North Sea sandwiched neatly between Walmer and, er, Sandwich….With it’s stony beaches, fisherman’s huts and cinqueport history it is worth a visit and home to a number of impressive independent shops and eateries. It is also home to a large number of my Outlaws, and thus somewhere I find myself for dinner pretty frequently.
We came across Salentino’s for a cheeky lunch out with the Her In Law after a pleasant walk up the main seafront. Though it did take a while to find as we were looking for ‘the place with all the jars of pasta in the window’, which have now been removed in the Covid ready clear up. Let’s tick that box to confirm that they are all over the infection controls here and speak of such unpleasantness no further.
The main space is an airy, borderline industrial motif with wooden floors and many single string light fittings, wrought iron booth backs and lots of light from the obligatory look at the sea view floor to ceiling windows. It’s clean, it’s modern, it’s comfy.
It is a family run restaurant with all the Italian delights one would expect- so anti pasti, pizzas, pastas and burgers along with more substantial meat and fish plates and a pleasing array of veggie and vegan options. You can believe their own blurb about utilising the best of local Kent produce (as well as plenty of Sicilian imports) in their cooking. I’m going to dwell on the produce here for a moment because the flavour packed into the food at Salentinos truly outshines the admittedly beautiful presentation. A long experience of chain pizzerias and bland, oily slices of pepper can easily cloud one’s memory of what skilfully prepared Mediterranean food is actually like. Salentinos is a warm and fragrant reminder of how good simple food can be. Ripe and glorious peppers, bundles of garlic and silky olive oil, bread you want to take home to meet your mother, you know the kind of food I’m talking about!
I recommend basically everything here but must insist you try the Zucchine Fritte: strips of courgette fried in a crisp batter made directly from those clouds you see in paintings where the light of the Gods is shining through from above…..truly divine. There’s burgers and steaks and some very tempting fish on offer here too, but one can leave truly satisfied on how well they turn out the veggies alone, which to my mind is the mark of a kitchen team who really know what they are doing. Their vegan options are well thought out and not mindlessly over priced as seems to be the trend in other venues and they will tinker with most dishes to cater for allergies and the like without any fuss. My sister in law has been vegan since way before you trendy buggers were at it and says to go straight for the pizza.
Usual temptations to dessert apply- cakes, ice cream, affogato. I sadly couldn’t make it to a third course due to the generously sized opening choices and filling up on too much blood-orange fizzy pop, which is one of my more childish guilty pleasures. Magic stuff.
So get yourself to Salentino’s for a cinqueport lunch between castle visits, or a posh dinner with a nice Chianti and a date who knows when to crack a Hannibal quote. You won’t be disappointed.
In the food.
I’m not responsible for your dates.