Harden's survey result
“Back to its best” – long-time chef Andy McLeish and his business partner purchased this well-known site in late 2017, and have re-established it as one of the major destinations on the fringes of south east London and beyond. “Dishes are beautifully presented and have substance as well as style” and service is “very efficient, slick and unobtrusive”. The only hitch used to be the “staid” and “old-fashioned” interior, but early 2019 saw a month-long, six-figure revamp, and early reports say “post-revamp, the dining room is buzzing” with “an atmosphere of contentment”. Top Tip – “special lunch menus continue to be a bargain worth travelling for”.
This “superb” stalwart fixture of the outer London fringes has made a “welcome return to form” this year with long-time chef Andy McLeish back in the kitchen full-time, having bought the premises in late 2017 from the business that formerly employed him as group executive chef. “Although it has an unprepossessing exterior, once through the doors it’s a worthwhile experience” – “picture perfect plating and great tastes” all “at fair prices”.
“An outstanding out-of-town restaurant, with West End standards” is how its large fan club still regard this highly popular destination – just outside London’s city limits – praising its “very high order of cooking and very professional service”. “The atmosphere is a bit sterile” though, and ebbing ratings support those who feel it’s “going downhill”. That might be about to change however, as in September 2017, Ken McLeish (exec chef of the group which formerly owned it) bought out the restaurant with the aim of “a new influx of energy” (including a more modern approach, and more emphasis on the brasserie side of the business).
“Who cares whether or not they still have a Michelin star?” – this well-known rural eatery on the fringes of the metropolis still satisfies most reporters with its “fine quality, out-of-town dining”, producing food that’s “imaginative and respectful of its ingredients”. Service does not seem as accomplished as it once was however, and this “busy and animated” (“slightly suburban”) venue can give a “somewhat soulless” impression – “the food is stunning, but I can’t help thinking it is the non-food areas that are holding Chapter One back from its previous glories?” – “In a finer housing they could charge twice as much and still be booked for months!”
Chapter One Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Possibly the ugliest restaurant, from the outside, in the south: terrific cooking of pretty much classic staples. Overlooked by many."
"There is no doubt this venue is working hard to try to get its Michelin star (which I understand it used to have) back, and on some fronts it’s getting there. The presentation is good, the main menu for lunch is varied with great choices. The flavours and cooking were overall, very good but there were some disappointments. Service is, at the times, quite rushed, as soon as we put our forks down the plates were gone! Not good. Generally we had no issue it’s the food, one of our party said his dessert was the best he has ever had. Personally, as a somewhat seasoned reviewer, and no stranger to this venue, the simple phrase springs to mind....stop trying so hard! Toilets clean as ever. A good visit but........."
"Revamped dining room continues to offer a great dining experience in the suburbs! Lunchtimes are busy and Friday more so and judging by snatched chat many regulars opt for midday dining. Be prepared for popular set menu options running out...Allergy menu is helpful. Portions generous but not onerous. An oasis."
|Wine per bottle||£25.00|
Farnborough Common, Locksbottom, BR6 8NF
|Number of Diners:|
|Monday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Tuesday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑11:30 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑11:30 pm|
|Sunday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6:30 pm‑9 pm|