We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“What was on the plate was good but too many minor niggles.”
Review of Chapter One

Chapter One
Reserve with OpenTable
Chapter One is not available for your requested time. Choose another time, or search restaurants with availability.
The time you selected has already passed.
Ranked #2 of 157 Restaurants in Orpington
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $0 - $82
Cuisines: European, Contemporary
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Romantic, Large groups
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Reservations
Description: Behind the charming Tudor exterior is a bright, modern restaurant with top notch modern European cuisine. Chapter One has gained enthusiastic reviews from many major restaurant critics and happy plaudits from satisfied diners. Not to mention that it won AA restaurant of the year 2004 and comes along with four AA rosettes. The dining room is relaxed, spacious and comfortable, and the cooking superb. Start with something inventive, like homemade roast gnocchi with braised chestnut, pumpkin and lobster. Then do try the braised oxtail with pancetta bacon and parsnip puree - everyone raves about it. The wine list shows much care and attention too. You will leave feeling well-fed and well cared-for.
Sevenoaks
Level Contributor
27 reviews
26 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“What was on the plate was good but too many minor niggles.”
Reviewed June 10, 2014

Six of us booked for an evening meal and having just joined the Chapter One Club were all entitled to a free glass of champagne which duly arrived. Not wanting to sound ungrateful but it was given a universal thumbs down from all of us. Very mediocre.
It's advertised at £38 for three courses. That's fine unless you chose one of the better dishes which have supplements (a real pet hate of mine). The steak which one of us ordered had a hefty £10 supplement.
One of our guests didn't eat meat and was unimpressed with the choices of fish. Cod, Salmon and Gurnard. Her comment was "That's like asking for the cheese selection and being offered Cheddar, Mozarella and Kraft Dairylea Triangles. Gurnard? That fish is so tasteless that my fishmonger stopped selling it as he couldn't even give it away for free. Maybe the chef worked a miracle with it but she wasn't prepared to risk it.
I asked the waiter what my dish came with e.g. and form of potato. I was informed not so duly ordered some mash only to find when the dish came it had fondant potatoes with it.
My colleague ordered steak medium which came clearly medium / rare much too pink. It got sent back no fuss with the waiters and they even replaced the chips with a new portions.
Talking of chips the consensus around the table was that the chunky chips were the best any of us had ever tasted.
What came on all the plates was all excellent showing highly skilled cooking. Maybe we love our vegetables as a group but the dishes were all lacking in greenery or any vegetables at all really compounded by the fact that the only side dish orders were green beans or a (meagre) salad.
Deserts all went down well so on to coffees. The only do full fat milk with the coffees. How pretentious. Our waiter sarcastically commented why are you bothered when you've just eaten a calorie laden pudding to which we replied it's the taste not the calories.
One of us ordered a liqueur coffee with no sugar. It came with sugar and not hot enough. The glass had clearly not been pre-warmed.
Service was very good. Lots of waiters in a buzzing busy and full restaurant with no delays between courses so credit for that.
So there you have it. Overall we all enjoyed it but it's the kind of place for the price we all decided we wouldn't be rushing back to.

.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Curry L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

1,279 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    756
    292
    141
    61
    29
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Hungarian first
  • Korean first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Purley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“An Amazing Restaurant”
Reviewed June 7, 2014

I have been going to Chapter One since it opened many years ago, and I have to say the food and service is second to none. You feel special from the minute you walk through the doors. The food tastes sublime, that's my main reason for going as I know that whenever I am there I am going to have a fantastic experience.

Whilst a normal night for some people can feel a bit rushed at a weekend as there are two sittings, I never feel this compromises on the service or the taste or look of the food. They have a lot of staff in the kitchen and this is why they can get the food out so quickly. Once dessert is served they always ask if you would like your coffee and follow up drinks at the bar area so that they can prepare the table for the next sitting, but that's not a problem. The bar area is very comfortable and relaxing and you can stay there as long as you like and pay the bill all together at the end. We usually have a couple of cocktails after, which are very yummy and then coffee and petit fours which you must try the salted caramel chocolates, they are amazing!!!

The only thing I will say about my last visit which was for my birthday in March, was that the service seemed to be a bit lacking. I noticed that some staff had changed, most I have seen there for years, but there were some new faces and it seemed that when the food servers came from the kitchen, they were standing around next to you for a couple of minutes before someone actually came over to put down the food. I noticed this was happening to a lot of people and the place wasn't packed that night and there was only one sitting so they certainly weren't in a rush, it just seemed to be a bit disjointed. Normally the service you get there, your glass is never empty as they constantly fill it up for you, and whilst some people might not like that, it always makes me feel special. But this last visit they filled up the first glass but then that was it and didn't seem to come over to the table to check if everything was alright. The staff seemed to be chatting a lot and not taking as good care of the customers as they would normally do.

I do hope this was just a one off as I have loved this restaurant for many years and I know someone that went to one of the top restaurants in Venice say that the food wasn't as good as Chapter one.

I am looking forward to my next visit, I just hope the service doesn't continue to go downhill as I cant imagine not spending my birthdays and anniversaries there!

Also if chapter one is reading this, please bring back the Assiette of deserts that was amazing, a plate of around 9 smaller portions of all the deserts on the menu. That was fantastic and used to make my night, but for some reason they stopped it, even though you paid a supplement for it. Everyone used to order it so really not sure why they don't do it anymore.

All in all definitely worth a visit for a fantastic night. I will write another review the next time I go and really hope that I will be writing to confirm that Chapter One is back to its best.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Penny C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Overrated-night cut short”
Reviewed June 4, 2014

Our experience was an exact replica of the 'felt rushed’ review below; we had 3 courses back to back and felt incredibly rushed. It ruined the evening, which is a shame as it was my partners Mothers birthday. We travelled hour to the restaurant and planned to be out for the night, but left (pushed out) the restaurant within an hour and a half.; so much so we ended up having the post dessert chocolates in the bar...
If the restaurant explained when booking the table that there was a booking in immediately after us then we would have cancelled the booking or at least been prepared and made post dinner arrangements.
I had the steak it below average as was the dishes of my partner and his mother. I wouldn’t expect this type of service/food in a standard restaurant never mind a Michelin, bizarre how they have a star rating, but maybe not for much longer.
Stay Clear!

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
11 Thank Claire E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxted, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
49 reviews
34 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“A perfect meal in Kent”
Reviewed June 2, 2014

How do you get a perfect meal on a wet bank holiday- try "Chapter One". We had two terrific starters-chicken ravioli in mushroom foam on a bed of spinach, and rabbit with a delicate carrot salad with lemon grass infused with orange. If anything the main courses of poached and roasted quail and belly pork took the level up a notch. We finished with quite the most wonderful and light cheesecake ever, with caramelised apricot and apricot sorbet. Unbelievably the cappuccinos were spot on too. Although they didn't know it, C1 provided a special meal to mark a special occasion 31st anniversary. Wonderful.

  • Visited May 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Carol M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Felt rushed”
Reviewed June 2, 2014

This was our second visit to this restaurant and, to be honest, we left a bit disappointed. We were there for the first sitting on Saturday and it seemed they were making sure we were gone in time for the second sitting. The waitress took our order and before we knew it the starter was there. Ok not a problem but the main came up and we had only been there twenty minutes.

The food was up to it's usual standard, although my wife's steak was fatty.

  • Visited June 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Guardy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Chapter One also viewed

London, England
Orpington, Greater London
 
Orpington, Greater London
Warlingham, Surrey
 

Been to Chapter One? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing