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Restaurant Review: Valentina, Sevenoaks, Kent

November 15, 2015


This post is for my lovely niece and nephew, Clara and Leo. At 12 and 10 respectively, they are already great foodies and Clara a keen cook. Thus they were perfect companions on my first visit to a Valentina restaurant. I’d offered to drive down to Kent and take them out and with Sevenoaks close to their home, it was a good place to head to find lunch. I’d thought a Carluccio’s would be a good choice and had forgotten there isn’t a branch in Sevenoaks but while looking at a list of restaurants in the town came across Valentina – and that seemed an excellent choice, so I booked for the three of us.

While Valentina may be relatively new to Sevenoaks, the company has been going for 25 years and for most of those years they were based solely in East Sheen, SW London … just a couple of miles away from my home. I’ve always known them as an excellent deli where I’d sometimes go in search of good, authentic Italian food. Then in 2008 after a refurbishment, they opened out the back of the shop into a restaurant. Since then, 7 other delis/restaurants have followed and another is to soon open in Battersea. Just like the original Sheen shop that was opened in 1991 by the Zoccola and Arcari families, the other outlets are family affairs with some family members running them and selling some of the families’ products, like the olive oil from their farm in Saint Elia Fiumirapido in the Lazio region. They sell their own product groceries too plus a choice of some of the finest brands of pasta, wines, charcuterie and other foods.


The Sevenoaks branch is run by family members Marco and Antonio. We entered to a warm welcome and were shown to our table. The waiter brought the ‘bambini’ menu but I said straight away, thank you, but I knew my companions would want to choose from the main menu. Even five years ago at my son’s wedding, aged on 7 and 5, they didn’t want a children’s menu but the same as the adults! Still, it was nice of the waiter to offer and the service all the way through was friendly and efficient.


It was decided we’d order a couple of antipasti dishes to share while waiting for our mains. Clara and Leo drank some fruity Pellegrino drinks while I had Pellegrino water.


Our choice of starters included a dish of ‘Antipasto Siliciana’ – marinated olives, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, artichokes and gherkins.


Clara immediately commented that it was a very good marinade – and it was. They were delicious – so delicious and such a success that I offered to buy some for them to take home from the deli on the way out. Our other choice to begin was ‘Pizza Fritta’ – fried strips of pizza dough sprinkled with rock salt and cracked black pepper.


I’d never had these before and they were really good; a notch up from ordinary dough balls; crisp on the outside and soft inside. Needless to say, they all disappeared fast! Then our mains arrived. Clara had chosen a Pizza Margherita.


She said this was very good. Leo and I had chosen ‘Linguine with crab, artichoke and cherry tomato’.


Leo tasted his and told me it was very good. And yes it was excellent. Well, we’d all eaten quite a lot after that … but then how does one resist dessert? Clara and Leo each chose sorbets while I went for the dessert + coffee mix of ‘Affogato’.


Vanilla ice cream with a small jug of hot espresso on the side to pour over the top. My perfect dessert! It was a really good meal. We had fun chatting generally, talking about food and what we were eating or liked cooking. Clara and Leo asked what some of the Italian words were and how to say things in Italian. On the way out we stopped in the shop area to buy the antipasti.


There were lots of temptations but we managed to not get too carried away! Valentina is such a great place I’m sure to be going there again when visiting my niece and nephew!

Valentina Fine Foods Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

  1. What a lovely Aunt you are !

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  1. My Week in Italian Food | Travel Gourmet

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