Chapter One is basically the only restaurant in Orpington to carry any kind of distinction. It used to possess one Michelin star (was sadly stripped of it in 2014), but for Bromley, that's enough to make it stand out. I’d never been there before, but for my 27th birthday, my friend Joy kindly treated me to a three course meal on the lunchtime menu there.
For starter, I had tomato and mozzarella salad. As you can see in the photo above, the salad was presented in an altogether daintier manner than compared to other restaurants where I’ve had similar starters, where all the food is just lobbed on a plate. The portion was just the right size to tantalise me for main, and whilst I’m struggling to identify what they drizzled it with (it tasted like balsamic vinegar but as the photo shows, the colour isn’t quite the same as balsamic), it complemented the greens and the cheese splendidly.
For my main, I had the baked chicken pithivier. I'm generally wary of ordering puff pastry-based dishes, as I see it as a way for restaurants to take shortcuts and just swamp the taster with carbs, but the balance between dough, meat and greens here in this deep-filled dish was excellent. The potato purée, the cream-coloured substance below the pastry, complemented the chicken so well, and I really liked how the broccoli had been seasoned. The sauce was utterly moreish and its zingy savoury flavour capped off a thoroughly salubrious course.
Perhaps due to the high bar set by the starter and the mains, we were left feeling a bit underwhelmed with our desserts. The éclair I ordered was plenty tasty and sweet, but it didn’t go that extra mile that told me I was definitely dining in a Michelin starred restaurant. The red blob on the photo is just some sorbet, which again, tasted very generic. It’s a shame, because had the dessert matched the quality of the two courses preceding it, I would award Chapter One an A-grade, which is very rare for me indeed!
The service was impeccable; attentive without ever feeling intrusive. As we attended the lunchtime tasting menu towards the end of the designated lunchtime slot, the majority of people had vacated Chapter One, meaning we got more quality attention. Me being me, I asked one of the waiters to take a photo of Joy and I, and they acquiesced with a smile. The waiters regularly checked up on us, asking us if we were content with our food.
Overall, Chapter One, like Trullo, is a thoroughly pleasant venture into the world of fine dining. As I have quite simple tastes when it comes to food, I don’t think I could make a habit of attending restaurants where the length of the wine list exceeds the tasting menu by about five to one, and nor could my bank balance cope with such a habit. But if any foodies ever happen to be in Orpington and feel like #TreatingYoSelf, this is by far the fanciest restaurant that my hometown has to offer.
I like to sample restaurants all over London. All my restaurant reviews are listed here.