The award-winning Chapter One
The proud owner of one Michelin star and four AA rosettes, Kent-based restaurant, Chapter One, is celebrated for its modern European culinary fare and unreserved commitment to its loyal clientele. Fronted by award-winning executive chef, Andrew McLeish, the latest in this eatery’s line of exciting projects is a new experience intended for the discerning daytime diner.
by Gemma Dunn
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting Chapter One before, you will know there is little-to-no excuse needed for a second, third or even a fourth return visit. However, a fifth or sixth? People might start talking. Therefore, I was thrilled to hear the news that chef-patron, Andrew McLeish, had headed up a new Brassiere experience; and even more thrilled that I had been invited along to give it a try.
A firm believer that you can never have too much of a good thing – and this is a good thing – I immediately booked up a rainy Monday lunchtime (in the height in summer) to sample the restaurant’s latest venture.
Open daily from midday, with lunch available until 3pm and pre-dinner drinks thereafter, the spectacular Brasserie blends specially commissioned brushed-brass tables and elegant mirrored furnishings with rich dark hues and steamed-oak floors, in a bid to offer a more relaxed, informal setting for those earlier guests hankering to try out the restaurant’s award-winning cuisine.
On this occasion, I was one of those daytime diners. Moreover, greeted with a glass of bubbly upon arrival, it certainly seemed the ideal way to kick-start the working week.
Picking from the newly designed menu, my guest and I embraced Chapter One’s modern European influence, opting for velouté of butternut and vanilla and superb salad of Belgium endive with apple and blue cheese.
Paired with a selection of freshly baked breads, the classic velouté was perfectly seasoned and velvety to taste, while the layered salad championed the flavourful Belgium endive, matched with a sweet apple crunch, piquant blue cheese and spattering of delicious walnuts.
Continuing with the erudition, a classically French beef casserole was my main of choice. A personal favourite, the braised beef and thick, rich gravy did not disappoint, served with a creamy mash and the most delectable sweet carrots. Meanwhile, my guest’s braised pork belly was equally exceptional. Succulent and tender, this culinary feat was met with traditional choucroute, a smooth potato purée, and long-standing staple, homemade apple sauce.
Not your average office lunch by any means, ‘should I have a dessert?’ was a rhetorical question if I ever have heard one. Continuing the theme, an elegant and seamlessly prepared glazed crème brûlée was a shared preference, and a delightful finale to another outstanding sitting at Chapter One.
From diners meeting with friends and family, to those enjoying a special occasion, working lunch or otherwise, the bustling Brasserie provides the ideal space for a daytime get together – and at a reasonable price too. What’s more, with a menu that comprises anything from deep-fried whitebait to a Josper-grilled USDA prime rib eye, and a banana and caramel sundae, there really is an option for everyone.
Much like the remainder of Chapter One’s innovative menus – tasting, lunch, dinner or alike – the driving force behind the Brasserie’s refined dishes and penchant for using quality, seasonal ingredients, is culinary genius and executive, patron-chef, Andrew McLeish.
At the helm, McLeish inspires and leads a team of talented kitchen staff, whose passion and commitment is in turn, evident in each and every plate served. Refreshingly, this enthusiasm also translates to the professional and attentive front of house line-up, who are just as fervent about the dishes they are presenting.
One of the most celebrated (and rightly so) restaurants in the South East, Chapter One’s Brasserie was predicted a success, and true to form, it has proved to be just that. Deserved of every triumph, the future is infinitely bright for this Kentish gem, and I for one, am holding out for that second Michelin star!
Chapter One, Farnborough Common, Locksbottom BR6 8NF
01689 854848 / www.chapteronerestaurant.co.uk