Thursday, 19 September 2013

Loving the lamb shank at Chapter One Brasserie

I disregarded my table etiquette and picked up the bone to polish it off in the most unladylike way imaginable...

Chapter One Brasserie on Urbanspoon
Cooking shows have always been my weakness. There's something so satisfying about watching other people cook amazing dishes with ingredients that I have never heard of in my life. Masterchef Australia is a huge addiction and it was through watching the Masterchef Professionals season that I developed much admiration for Marco Pierre White and his loud, confident and flamboyant personality.

His words are echoed on the first page in Chapter One Brasserie's menus:
To learn how to eat well, one must first learn how to wait.
And I think these words of wisdom were a very obvious warning, because wait we did.
Food & Drinks menu
The bright, loud colours jazz up an otherwise very traditional looking dining room
We enter the restaurant through a rickety door, that doesn't quite open properly when we push through. The restaurant is completely empty and the difficulty of actually getting inside the restaurant doesn't deter us from being excited for dinner, especially when a kind, polite and friendly waiter notices our struggle to open the door and swoops over to welcome us in.
Dinner started with a cold and refreshing Asahi, which the waiter brings over and tops up the glass to the brim with.
Chapter One Tasting Plate: Selection of 3 entrees - $45
The availability of Chapter One's tasting plate made it a no-brainer to order. It offers a choice of 3 entrees presented on the same platter, and is the best way to sample more of the entrees if indecisiveness is your trait. If a little bit of a lot sounds like your plate of food, this option would be your ultimate choice!
Crudo of Swordfish, Capsicum Escabeche, Grilled Asparagus, Green Olive & Thyme
Seared Local Scallops, Radish and Apple Salad, Roasted Shallot Aioli, Cinnamon Paste
Housemade Venison & Prune Sausage, Grilled Witlof, Pumpkin Puree, Blackberry Jus
The platter looked fabulous, and everything was gorgeously arranged. My favourite had to be the crudo of swordfish; delicate slices of raw fish lightly doused with olive oil and salt with a slight citrus dressing that went just so well with it. The capsicum was soft and its own flavour is brought through from the marinade, which paired exceptionally well with the chopped up and grinded olives. It was almost like a pesto!

The scallops were smooth and plump as expected, but lacked that golden caramelisation I lusted after and tasted like they were simply blanched. The roasted shallot aioli and cinnamon paste it came with was sparse - I hardly noticed their presence and flavour! Definitely wished for more, to go with that fresh, crisp apple and radish salad.

Last thing I actually tried was the venison and prune sausage, for it looked a little uninspiring next to the other two entrees. How wrong I was! Its taste was very different to what I was expecting, as it was infused with spices that were quite strong and overempowering, while texture wise it had the softness of soft minced meat rather than that springy bite characteristic of sausages. It was also my first time trying witlof, whose leaves were still quite crisp but left a bitter aftertaste in the mouth.
Pork Hock Presse, Pea Shoot, Butter poached King Prawns, Saffron Rouille, Duo of Corn - $34
This dish was a little bit of a disappointment and the only ones to blame for it are ourselves. While the image of a big, plump and juicy pork knuckle was making its way around our mind, our eyes must have dwindled past the "presse" in the description. Oops!
What it was, was a small flat brick of pork shreds, grinded up along with other trimmings. It was served lukewarm and sadly was not very substantial as a meal, even with the three not-very-buttery king prawns.
The other components of the dish were quite "raw", in that they seemed to have minimal preparation and taste in comparison to the pork hock presse. The pea shoots leave little to the imagination, as did the corn kernels that were scattered over the dish. An unexpected addition was the popcorn, which were part of the "duo of corn" stated in the dish's description. Personally I don't have a thing for popcorn as a component in savoury dishes, especially when they are plain and they don't do much to enhance the overall taste of the dish.
Braised Lamb Shank, Pommes Amandine, Wilted Greens, Sherry Glazed Shallot - $34
I craved lamb and had a hard time deciding between the lamb shank or the rack of lamb, which came with the gorgeous sounding eggplant caviar. I ended up with the shank and was very pleased with my choice when it arrived at the table, sending Andy on his way to destination Food Envy, muttering about his pork presse on the way.
Why hello there, Mr. Lamb Shank!
The lamb shank looked gorgeous to me, resting in a shallow pool of jus that gleamed in the light. It was extremely meaty and not so tender that you could prise the flesh off with a spoon, but had a just-right chew to it. The sherry-glazed onion shallots were also soaked with flavour and had a nice sweetness to them. After I finished the vegetables on the plate, I instructed Andy to be on people patrol while I disregarded my table etiquette and picked up the bone to polish it off in the most unladylike way imaginable!
Pommes Amandine innards
Pommes amandine refers to an almond potato croquette, a sizeable wheel of mashed potato that has been mixed with almond meal and deep fried in a golden crust. I could not contain my excitement for the first few decadently creamy mouthfuls and was so sure I would finish it all, but it proved challenging as the richness of consequent mouthfuls escalated quickly. The smooth, buttery texture is really indulgent, but the crust soon turns dry and floury in the mouth if you take too long to savour it!
Dining area
On the whole, we enjoyed the food at Chapter One Brasserie and I would love to return another time to try more of the dishes on their menu, which has a focus on using quality and local seasonal produce to make simple, wholesome food. They have an extensive wine list to match their dishes should you wish to have a cheeky glass of red (or five)!
Dining table
There seemed to only be one staff serving the entire floor that night, but he was still able to provide very friendly, prompt and attentive service. At one point during our main course however, we were approached about 4 times to be asked how our food was. It felt a bit awkward to repeat "Yes, it's good!" so many times, but is a good sign that they check in on how the customer is going :)
Dining area
The overall ambiance of Chapter One Brasserie is relaxed and quiet, making it a good place for intimate dinners. It is a small restaurant, and anything louder than quiet chatter can probably be heard by other customers dining in the restaurant.

As the menu forewarned about waiting for good food, there is a considerable wait time in between ordering and receiving your dish. All the better, should you wish for more time to get more closely acquainted with your dining companion!
Chapter One Brasserie, Subiaco

Chapter One Brasserie
Wed - Fri & Sun: 12pm - 2.30pm
Tues - Sun: 6pm - late

292 Hay Street, Subiaco WA 6008
(08) 93881323
Some parking at rear of restaurant


  1. Hehe bad luck about the pork presse! But your lamb shank looked really good though :)! The last time I went there I really liked the venue. Private, quiet and at the same time, quite intimate.

    Its food was pretty good too. Just a little short on seasoning for me.

    1. Weny I agree! Or maybe we should cut down on the seasoning, all these strong flavours can't be doing us too good can it...haha!

  2. What beautiful pictures :) I haven't been here yet, as usual it's on the one day list!

    1. Haha, I'm sensing a pattern must tell me which other dishes are good when (if) you end up here!


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