Sunday 13 January 2013

A favourite dish from a long closed restaurant, back from the dead

When I was a teenager my parents bought an apartment in Sandgate, near Folkestone in Kent. We would go down there nearly every weekend, and when my dad retired they moved to Folkestone permanently.

One of the best things about weekend trips to Folkestone was an Italian restaurant called Emilio’s, where we would have lunch on most visits. The guy who ran the place was in charge of a modest, wood panelled restaurant that served simple Italian fare where a bad meal was never once experienced. He pretty much ran the whole show single handedly and we would often see him turn customers away when he had decided that (at 50% capacity) he could cope with no more tables! Unfortunately, Emilio’s as it was closed somewhere between 5 and 10 years ago, but is still an Italian restaurant.

I would nearly always order chicken cacciatore, which was absolutely divine. It was simplicity itself, chicken that was cooked in a sauce of tomato, basil and garlic.

Last week, I recreated this for dinner in as near to that served in Emilio’s restaurant as possible. Chicken with mozzarella in the middle and wrapped in bacon, served in the simple sauce along with some baby leeks and asparagus. Baked for about 90 minutes on a medium heat.

Served with creamed spinach and roasted sweet peppers it was an epic weeknight dinner, and transported me right back to Folkestone in the 1990s and early 2000s. A much missed dish from a much missed restaurant.

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