SquareMeal Review of
Keen out-of-town prices combined with pleasingly elegant decor, capable service and clever cooking make Chapter One well worth a drive down the A21. Chef/patron Andrew McLeish fashions all-manner of worldly-wise dishes from top-drawer materials and the result is vivacious food with a high degree of culinary technique. “Even though it’s Michelin star, it’s not above itself”, observes one regular. The kitchen deals in exquisite plates loaded with big, bold flavours: starters of Josper-roast octopus with chorizo or warm confit duck croquant with English asparagus, celeriac and confit duck egg yolk might give way to squab pigeon Wellington with trompette mushrooms or baked Dorset gurnard with a Comté cheese crust, chickpeas, rose-petal harissa and wild garlic pesto. “McLeish also sources his own venison”, says one who knows. Appealing puds might include baked apple with cinnamon ice cream, milk foam and toffee raisin sauce, while sommeliers are on hand to help with food-matching selections from the extensive wine list. “Always a delight”, says one fan, and we’re not about to disagree.