Chapter One, Farnborough

PUBLISHED: 15:28 24 August 2009 | UPDATED: 16:12 20 February 2013

Chapter One

Chapter One

Sheer dedication and hard work has secured the return of a Michelin star for Chapter One return, a rare and remarkable achievement...


Sheer dedication and hard work has secured the return of a Michelin star for Chapter One return, a rare and remarkable achievement...



The relief, pride and excitement of everyone on the Chapter One team about having regained their Michelin star and once again being rated among the best restaurants in the UK is still palpable several months after the news broke. But no one is resting on their laurels and the cooking - always impeccable - definitely has a new edge.


Head chef Andrew McLeish knows what he's doing, of course; he's been at the helm for nine years, having worked with some of the UK's most revered chefs including Nico, Jason Atherton and Hywell Jones.


Intent on positioning Chapter One as both a neighbourhood and a 'destination' restaurant, Andrew achieves this with a menu that is innovative, simple and, so crucial in these challenging times, affordable: Michelin-starred cooking at £29.50 for three courses represents really good value at this level.


The suburban, half-timbered exterior of Chapter One on a busy main road has always been something of a challenge, but once inside, the glamorous interior with its shimmering silver drapes, dramatic red lampshades and tasteful 'foodie' pictures (we had giant red onions near our table) sets the scene for modern European cooking that keeps an eye firmly on seasonality and local sourcing.


And there's room for you and all your friends and family, with seating for 110 at crisp linen-clothed tables (adorned with a silver dish of deep red carnation heads on our visit), plus a private dining room upstairs that can seat 50.


The sensibly short menu, just eight starters and eight mains, will still leave you spoilt for choice and my dithering cost me dearly. My Gorgeous Daughter got in first with her order for the roast langoustine - served, to her surprise, on skewers with subtle hint of garlic butter - accompanied by "the lightest and fluffiest gnocchi I've ever tasted. And pea shots! I don't like peas, but these complement the dish beautifully," she declared.


I wasn't disappointed, however, by my deceptively simple looking ravioli of smoked Loch Duart salmon with a dill cream sauce: intense, fresh flavours, a delectable sauce and again, perfectly judged pasta. A glass of Sauvignon Blanc from Languedoc for her and a slightly drier Neagles Rock Riesling for me proved excellent accompaniments.


Sticking to her fish theme, MGD opted for the fish of the day: black sea bass served on a truffle-studded mushroom risotto with a red wine sauce that was, apparently, "so good I can't even talk about it!" I nicked a bit and it was, indeed, insanely yummy, especially with a glass of light Moulin-a-vent Beaujolais.


We were both very pleased we'd picked baby new potatoes and crisp French beans to go with our very different mains - my choice was the famous slow roast belly of organic pork, cooked long and slow for around 12 hours until it was meltingly tender, with a sweetness coming through from the caramelised onions and apple and pork jus. Perfect with a glass of Don David 2007 Argentinian Malbec.


For a girl who starts every morning with peanut butter on toast, there was no real choice for dessert - it had to be the peanut and jam 'sandwich' with chocolate and raspberry millefeuille. "Ridiculous, but SO delicious!" was MGD's verdict.


Less showy but a true classic was my baked apple tart with a light caramel sauce and bourbon vanilla ice cream that displayed the lightest of touches in its execution.




Chapter One


Farnborough Common, Locksbottom BR6 8NF


Tel: 01689 854848


Email: info@chaptersrestaurants.com


Open: Lunch Mon-Sat, 12-2.30pm, dinner Mon-Sat, 6.30-10.30pm, Sun lunch, 12-2.45pm and dinner, 6.30-9pm


Nearest station: Orpington

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