Set in a former 16th Century, listed pub on Maldon High Street lies Dante’s. A charming seafood restaurant with a truly delicious menu. Dante’s, named after owners Charlotte and Mario’s young son, is set in the centre of a town already renowned for what’s beneath its water. This quaint, picturesque village is historic for it’s delicious Maldon Sea Salt and its fresh Oysters.
I am extremely versatile when it comes to fish and seafood so there isn’t much I don’t eat! I was excited to try out their fresh menu along with some staple Maldon Oysters. Not forgetting a glass of white to accompany.
Falling for Foccacia
Upon entering the restaurant, the low ceilings and original beams delighted me. It was warm and welcoming, therefore we sensed a family ambience. Without delay, we sat at our table – a comfortable booth sofa by the window – and began to browse the menu. To begin with, Foccacia bread was laid out. This delicious appetizer was a warm, buttery, thick slice that dissolved on the tongue. We had also ordered wine by this point. Dante’s has some great house wine. I had the Muscadet, a dry white wine which was light and fresh. Ryan went for the Tempranillo – the house red with a silky, dark berry aspect.
Mussels and more
Sooner or later it was time to order the starters. As usual, we shared and chose Shetland Mussels and six Oysters. The mussels were fresh and juicy in a warm broth of white wine and shallots. In addition to this, the Oysters tasted fresh from the sea. Ryan likes to smother his in tabasco whereas I keep mine au natural and add a dash of shallot vinegar.
The Softest Scallops
Next, it was time to order our mains. I fancied trying the scallops and Ryan went for Hake. I love scallops. They melt in the mouth and are always nice and light on the stomach. Nonetheless, these were no different. Soft, full of flavour and served with celeriac cubes and chard puree. The sauce also had oat flaked which was a nice textural touch. Ryan’s Hake came served with chicken. Such an unusual combo but it worked so well together. Mario called it the chicken ‘Surf n Turf’. This came garnished with Oyster leaf. Addiontaly we ordered some spring greens to accompany our dish.
Lastly, dessert was served. We had chosen Mille-feuille. Something I had not tried, nor could I pronounce. Caramelised white chocolate and red berry gel sandwiched between two crispy pastry like crackers. It was honestly to die for. The gin & thyme sorbet was the final refreshing finish to a truly delicious meal.
A Maldon gem
To sum up our experience I can honestly say the evening was fabulous. Somewhere you do not have to ‘dress to impress’ yet the mood and dishes were still memorable. The staff were all so friendly. Mario made us feel very welcome in his restaurant and I can not fault the evening at all. In fact, we are really looking forward to seeing how the menu is going to evolve over the coming months. Some really creative dishes are produced by some clearly talented chefs and without a doubt, the passion and love shines through each inch of the room.
Thanks to Mario and team for having us down to review. We look forward to seeing you again in the future. You can check out Dante’s website here.