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Chapter Two - Blackheath Village, London SE3

On a freezing but beautiful winter’s morning I travelled across London to Blackheath for Sunday lunch at Chapter Two. Set in a background of atmospheric winding streets reminiscent of a traditional olde English village, Blackheath is like a rare gem in what otherwise is a rather characterless part of South London. Split over two floors in the heart of the village and just five minutes walk from the station, this buzzy venue serves a very fairly priced three course set Sunday lunch at just £16.50 a head. The brightly lit dining room is modern with eclectic touches. Some tables are a little cramped perhaps, comprising a long bench seat with facing chairs but there are also some round tables and it is definitely worth requesting one of those.

To begin there was a choice of five starters, two being vegetarian. I had a terrine of confit chicken with shitake mushrooms, baby leeks and apple chutney. This was picture perfect, served on a stylish Perspex rectangular plate, the slab of glistening terrine was thick with a mushroom and leek interior. It tasted as good as it looked – meaty and flavoursome with a delicious dressing, served with wonderfully moreish toasted brioche. My guest had a plate of roast scallops, fricassee of snails and parsley puree; this had a £3.95 supplement but was the only item on the menu to have so. He commented it was beautifully presented, a truly excellent combination of flavours and textures – a sheer joy to consume. To accompany our first courses we tried two out of the three white wines available by the glass. My Hazy View Chenin Blanc 2005 South Africa was not as smooth as our other choice, a French Sauvignon Blanc 2004 Baron Philippe de Rothschild which proved the more delicate and drinkable on the palate.

Moving on, there were five main courses to choose between. For vegetarians there was a rather good sounding red onion tatin with creamed leeks and roasted root vegetables. A couple of fish choices, one with skate, spinach and pancetta in a red wine sauce and a roasted salmon dish served with baby bok choi, seared calamari and risotto. I had the slow roast belly of pork, served with pomme purée and braised cabbage. This was artistically served in a nouvelle cuisine style with the flavours and tastes merging well on the palate, the pork being tender and well flavoured although bizarrely no green vegetable came included in the price. My guest ordered a roast sirloin of Scottish beef, asking it to be served medium. It arrived with roast potatoes and broccoli, and a celeriac and carrot gratin and was again well presented, however, the beef veered towards medium/rare and was not quite as tender as he had hoped, whilst the roast potatoes lacked a certain crispness. We drank another house wine, Merlot Rothschild 2003, £17.50 a bottle, which had the desired full and rounded body and held its own, complementing our meal well.

For pudding there were four choices. I had a very gooey, rich and moreish bitter chocolate mousse, served with shortbread and a chocolate anglaise sauce. It was a scrumptious concoction of tastes with an added touch of coffee, the crispness of the shortbread adding bite to the wonderful richness. My guest’s ‘selection of artisan cheese and biscuits’ was disappointing. Three small portions were pre-selected by the restaurant, (a Mull of Kintyre cheddar, a Valency goat’s cheese and French Comte). The goat’s cheese was palatable but the other two proving decidedly forgettable. My guest commented it would have been preferable to have had a choice from a full cheese board.

Overall, Blackheath residents are lucky to have such a reasonably priced local, providing a great place to meet up with friends without breaking the bank. Our bill at just over £81.00 including service for two was very fair, making the trek across London well worth the journey.

Louise Elgin, December 2005

Set lunch (weekdays) 2 courses £14.95 3 courses £18.95
Set dinner menu 2 courses £16.95 3 courses £19.95

Chapter Two
43-45 Montpelier Vale, Blackheath Village, London SE3 

T 020 8333 2666 

http://chaptersrestaurants.com/chapter_two.php

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