Published on January 8th, 2019 | by James Drew0
Discover Waterloo victor’s home in Kent!
The Belgian battlefield where Wellington defeated Napoleon draws scores of Brits every year, writes Martin Banks.
But the residence on the other side of the Channel where Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, actually lived is also proving increasingly popular for visitors from Belgium.
The Duke spent 23 years at Walmer Castle in Kent, and you get a feel of his spirit living on in the bedroom which still has the armchair in which he died and his campaign bed.
At this fine English Heritage property, you can explore the “celebrity” status Wellington attained during and after his lifetime.
Any visit to the Garden of England should also include a call at Tenterden, a typical Kentish village nearby. The station at Tenterden has been used for film and TV locations such as Downtown Abbey, The Darling Buds of May while,nearby, is Bodiam Castle, a 14th century moated castle and one of Britain’s most picturesque ancient monuments.
After expanding all that energy you may have worked up an appetite and a great local place to sate any hunger is Montalbano, a pleasant Italian-owned restaurant close to the rail station in Tenterden.
The restaurant will mark its third anniversary later this year and has proved a big hit since it opened with both locals and the many tourists who flock to the town each year.
This is a delightful family run restaurant, serving traditional homemade food, regional Italian dishes with touches of Sicily.
The owners, Ana, who hails from Romania, and her Italian-born husband, Salvo, have introduced several initiatives designed to boost trade, including flambé nights where diners can watch and be entertained as Salvatore shares his expertise in cooking speciality Flambé dishes before your eyes.
This being England there are, of course, also the traditional Sunday roasts.
This may be an Italian eatery but the delicious locally sourced Sunday roasts (with Yorkshire puddings and all the trimmings) were introduced by popular demand.
Another speciality here is a Montalbano speciality – its fabulously fresh Italian gelato, an artisan product that follows the Italian tradition of ice cream making, made daily in the restaurant by Ana and Salvo’s qualified gelatiere. The couple source fresh milk and cream from a local farm and only use fresh fruits and natural based ingredients. There are also gelato packs to takeaway.
The quality of the food on the menu is excellent. Specialties – and among the most popular with diners – include the delicious seafood spaghetti (cooked the Sicilian way) and ravioli Granchio which is filled with crab meat (but still not too heavy).
Another favourite here is the risotto La Reine which more than satisfies the English love for mushrooms and bacon.
Other recommendations include the sea bass fillets, pan fried calf liver, veal chops and fritto misto which includes calamari and white bait.
The service is professional and very friendly, not least from Vesco, a Romanian-born guy who has worked at top London hotels. Having been at Montalbano for a year he is well known for his knowledge both of the food served here and the fantastic wines.
This is a very good authentic restaurant to go to either for lunch (the 2 course menu is a snip at just £11.95) or dinner (pasta starts from a mere £8.95) so you really should try to include it on your itinerary if you find yourself in this part of Kent.
The area is known for its hospitality and you get the feeling that if the Duke was still around today he’d make a beeline for this place.
Open Mon-Sat: 12h-22h; Sun: 12h-21h.
Montalbano Italian Restaurant
75 High Street