Herne Bay’s newest opening is a charming and truly authentic Italian eatery sitting pretty on Jervois Road—Osteria Del Pane. Owner and chef, Roberto Aylwin, is no stranger to restaurant life—this is his third—but this time he’s decided to go back to his Italian roots. Both of his grandparents are from Sicily and, after growing up in Boston, you know he’s got a good understanding of how pizza and pasta ought to be.
The fitout shows no signs of its predecessors. The long dining room features banquet seating down the length of one side, with smaller tables dotted about. And, there’s a cleverly designed window that leads through to the kitchen to not only act as a pass, but for diners to see the magic of the wood fire oven in action.
Out of that wood fire oven comes fresh sourdough, which is then cubed and toasted with olive oil and garlic to create traditional panzanella salad. The housemade bread also features alongside Nonna’s meatballs—how else are you going to sop up all that glorious tomato sauce? Other starters include sweet pea arancini, beef carpaccio and zucchini fritters that feature summer caponata and homemade ricotta.
There are no main dishes that don’t comprise of pizza or pasta but seriously, we’re not complaining. The pasta is made fresh every day from three simple ingredients—100% Italian semolina flour, free range eggs and sea salt and come in a good variation of shapes. Spaghetti is turned into a carbonara, the sauce made simply from egg yolk, pancetta and lashing of parmesans add the all essential final touches. Gnocchi is pillowy and plays on Italy’s traditional flavours with basil pesto, oven roasted tomatoes and parmesan. The porcini ravioli is delicate and flavoursome thanks to the earthy mushrooms, ricotta, brown butter, toasted walnuts and sage.
Pizza is also made fresh and each base is perfectly doughy and crisp. Each variation features only a few ingredients: just like a true Italian pizza should. There’s the classic Margherita or Prosciutto. Our pick: the fennel sausage with a hint of chilli, ricotta, mozzarella and San Marzano Tomato. Make sure you finish off your meal with an espresso and a tiramisu—just like the Italians do.
Osteria Del Pane is undoubtedly going to become the Italian-go-to around Herne Bay and its surrounding areas. But hey, if you’re passing by, we highly suggest giving Roberto and his team a visit. One bite of any of his dishes and you’ll be instantly transported to Sicily—prego and buona notte.
For more details on Osteria Del Pane, including opening hours, click here.
Image credit: Lauren Matilda Matthews