Thursday, 3 October 2013

Chapter One

A rather disappointed Michelin experience

Chapter One in Farnborough Common, just on the edge of Greater London, is a one starred Michelin restaurant cooking in the mood of modern British cuisine. Along with its four AA Rosettes, it is regarded as one of the best restaurants that Kent has to offer. As part of my September eating out spree, I visited Chapter One on a Sunday afternoon in the hope of finding some fabulous fine British cooking.
Chapter One

Located just off the main road with its own parking space, Chapter One has a beautiful dining room with relaxing music played in the background, we went for the Sunday lunch menu at £22.95 which is one of the cheapest lunch menus I ever encountered in a Michelin restaurant, however the food just wasn't anywhere the level I was hoping for even at such price. 
Deep fried fish cakes with tartar sauce and baby leaves

For my starter, I had a risotto of mussels, chorizo and Squid. This was by far the best dish  on the day, the risotto was cooked beautifully at the perfect level, the chorizo added a hint of smokiness and oily notes while the squid added a touch of softness. It worked really well with the earthy parmesan and crème fraiche, not overly creamy, it was a very decent first course.
Risotto of mussels, chorizo and squid with Parmesan 

Sadly the same can't be said for rest of the afternoon, the roast air hung sirloin of beef was basically a roast dinner. The beef itself lacked any real flavours within, while the braised red cabbage totally overpowered every other element on the plate, I failed to get any taste out of the green beans and the red wine jus after a mouthful of the red cabbage.
Roast air hung sirloin of beef with braised red cabbage,
green beans, roast potatoes and red wine jus
Baked pithivier of chicken and foie gras

The strawberry millfesuille with vanilla ice cream was also a real let down, the icing was overly sweet and totally ruined the delicate taste of the strawberry, it was by far the weakest dessert I've ever had in a Michelin restaurant and I just wonder how is that acceptable to be sent out from the kitchen? This type of dessert is something that I expect from an average pub, not a fine dining restaurant.
Strawberry millefeuille
Chocolate delice with Macadamia nuts and banana sorbet

To sum it up, it was a real disappointing meal, while it seems like good value just from reading the menu, it also seems like they scale down the quality to make up the difference, I wonder will I get a totally different experience if I paid the full price for a tasting menu? Anyway a good restaurant shouldn't produce below par food because of the price difference in a set menu vs a full menu, and sadly Chapter One fell into that bracket in my view based on my visit. The food just lacked any imagination and any real quality that I would've expected in a restaurant that supposed to be one of the finest in Kent, I will not return. 

Food 4.5
Service 4
Ambience 6
Value 4

£37 per head with a cocktail and coffee

Farnborough Common, Orpington, Kent BR6 8NF

Chapter One on Urbanspoon

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