Restaurant Review | Chapter One

Dropping in at the newly opened Chapter One in Paceville.

In a land far, far away, there was a restaurant critic who had heard rumblings about a new place to eat in Paceville. She became more and more inquisitive and finally roped a chaperone into accompanying her to try the place out. She parked easily in the crater car park and strolled up to Chapter One purposefully. On entering, the brave khaki colour on the walls impressed her and she noted the altogether sharp setting and art which adorned the walls. A diminutive waitress showed her to a table and the critic ordered a gin and tonic to sip while awaiting her trusty chaperone. A large glass arrived and the critic was a little anxious in case the drink was weak, but she had nothing to fear. It was as strong and as cool as her prince and the next simile would be edited out if I dared write it.

The wait gave her plenty of time to take in her surroundings and peruse the menu. She liked the simplicity of the decor although the flooring could be revamped; perhaps into one of those deliciously smooth coloured concrete floors. The menu was varied and though not so extensive you get confused by choices – she did see more than one dish in each section that she wanted to try. She devised a plan. She would guilt her (late) friend into choosing one of the others. Another dilemma sorted. 

She chose the fresh orechiette with slow cooked lamb ragout with mint gremolata (€7.80) from sheer intrigue and was rewarded handsomely. The pasta giving the soft flavoursome lamb texture; the luxury of lamb with the mint evident an unusual combination in terms of pasta but worked really really well. Her chaperone had the seared squid with fresh fettucine and a sea urchin sauce (€8.50). What could be a salty dish was perfectly balanced and the texture of the squid was indistinguishable from that of the pasta – and that’s a good thing.

The dining rooms filled up with tourists; another two tables arrived in the same section and on a ‘natural break’ the critic noticed more patrons were seated on the well spaced tables in the front of the restaurant than when they had arrived. Not bad for a Monday night, she noted. Another thing that caught her attention was the blinds. She just had to touch them; they were reminiscent of the soft furnishings at her castle-like boarding school. But thankfully, this place had wine and way better food. The girls had a lovely white Bordeaux (€20) and for their mains, a saddle of rabbit which was stuffed with Maltese sausage and prunes with a giant rabbit cannelloni (just to clarify, the cannelloni were giant) and glazed carrots and roast potatoes (€18). Deliciously rich, beautifully presented; the stuffed saddle formed into sausage-like rounds with each ingredient clearly visible. It was, however, way, way too big for one person. He could, have, of course, been expecting giants.

The chaperone had (without having to be nudged too hard) the fresh duck breast which was brushed with Maltese wild thyme honey and served on braised red cabbage and was doused in duck jus (€18.95). It was delicious. As deep, rich and tender as her prince charming. The cabbage was cooked well and managed to retain its colour which made it easier to eat.

Whilst taking of pageants and princes, chores and market life, they realised they were the last people in the restaurant and it was getting late. Let’s put it this way: Cinderella would have left by now. But the memory of items on the dessert menu had enchanted the two earlier in the evening and they still had a tad of space in their gowns to fill.

A rich chocolate brownie topped with chocolate sauce, peanut brittle and freshly whipped cream (€6) (in a glass) is how the menu put it – unsure  which element was going to arrive that way,  but really was an unnecessary addition. The  dessert was just naughty; and though there was enough for two, the critic suffered a bout of greed and scoffed the lot herself. The cream was so light, aerated and fluffy that the whole thing was like a summer cloud with the peanut brittle like little bolts of cloud to cloud lightning, bursting with sweet salty flavour which is then swept away with the chocolate and cream. The chaperone took the vanilla panna cotta which was served with fresh strawberries and zig zagged with a sweet balsamic reduction (€6). A ladylike dessert perfect for Wimbledon week or any other summer’s evening. Light, sweet and chewy.

The girls decided against any elixirs and called their footmen to prepare the carriages to take them to their respective dwellings with satisfied feelings in their tummies and a vow to follow the rest of the story, as Chapter One was an enjoyable introduction.

Chapter One is open Mondays to Sundays for lunch and dinner. For reservations and more information, call 21380000. 

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