Chapter One – Modern Australian – 14.5 / 20
Chapter One is a lovely little 40 – seater pumping out brasserie favourites in the manner of French food, cooked by a British Chef – which is exactly what’s happening. Husband and wife couple Jason and Hayley Walker share a refreshingly old-fasioned approach to the restaurant business, preferring to plate solid technique-driven dishes rather than fashionable look-at-me food. The blue manna crab, angel hair pasta, tomato sugo, was exactly as Walker cooked it at Altos when he was head chef at Steve Scaffidi’s much-loved mod-Milan tratt in the 90s. The crustacean meat was soft and silky and the tomato sauce managed not to be overpowering. It’s a dexterous, well-balanced dish. Braised rabbit and wild mushroom pie, parsnip puree, thyme jus is a menu stalwart. The rabbit had been gently braised on the bone with oyster, shiitake, enoki and mushrooms and red wine. In winter, rice pudding with rhubarb compote is sophisticated nursery food. In spring and summer, try blood orange trifle. The wine list is small but well-formed, mostly European, particularly French. Service out front is as comforting and mannered as the food.