Pizza, pasta and crowd-pleasing comfort food rule the roost at Chapters Urban Bistro. Opened about eight months ago at the Empire Damansara enclave, chef at the helm of Chapters, Vicneswara Thenamirtham aka Chef Vic banks on his inimitable use of aromatic spices, Asian herbs and as much as possible, locally sourced produce to draw in the drink & dine clientele.
The retro-inspired brick-and-mortar façade on both sides evokes a casual, inviting feel with ample seating while the elongated narrow interior is dominated by a huge, dramatic mural depicting a sultry lass.
Suspended overhead is a singular row of geometric pendant lights to lend shine to the chalkboard of 'punny' quips. Nip upstairs and you'd find two floors outfitted with pool tables, cosy seating area and a stage for live music performances; a multi-purpose event space for parties and gatherings.
A popular outpost for tipples after work, Chapters wades into the mixology realm with boozy gems like Emperor Sirk – a cocktail of gin, kahlua and campari (RM34), Lychee Martini, Jazz Jager - Jagermeister, triple sec and pineapple juice (RM28) and some mocktails like Cub Royale (RM12) - fresh apple juice with crushed mint.
Instead of fish coated in fried batter, Chef Vic has tweaked the familiar fish & chips into Grilled Fish & Chunk Chips (RM34). Coated with an aromatic rub of smoked Spanish paprika, ground cumin, dried mustard and fresh herbs, we were instantly smitten with the bright, sublime flavours from the grilled, locally sourced seabass fillet. The chunky thick-cut chips with garlic aioli proved a worthy match for it.
We recommend greening your meal with a serving of Marinated Mango & Avocado Salad (RM18). It's almost a no-brainer to marry chunks of fresh local mango (marinated with local herbs & lime juice) together with locally grown, organic mixed lettuce leaves and avocado. Drizzled with honey lemon vinaigrette, textural layers came from the addition of pea sprouts, pickled chilli and almond flakes in the salad.
Chapter’s spice rub lent zingy fragrance to the crumbed and fried local seabass fillet, hooking us at first bite when we sampled the Posh Bass Sliders (RM24). Sandwiched between two brioche buns slathered with basil pine nut aioli and bedecked with fresh greens, the sliders were hearty enough to satisfy.
You don’t need to go to Morocco for tasty lamb meatballs. Chef Vic dished up a mean version using ground NZ leg of lamb tossed with seven spices, parmesan and egg. Braised in chunky tomato sauce, the Moroccan Lamb Meatballs (RM26) disappeared in a jiffy and we even wiped the plate clean, soaking up the scrumptious sauce with the accompanying buttered toasts.
Jostling for limelight was a slab of delectable Charbroiled Leg of Lamb (RM52). Again, the meat was sufficiently redolent with heady spice accents; its herbal smoky overtone rendered by brown butter and rosemary. Crispy crushed potato and summer vegetables completed the ensemble, giving the dish some homespun flair.
Another dish that went swimmingly for us was the Spiced Grilled Salmon with Pesto Conchiglie (RM36). A simple but likeable offering, the salmon was well-flavoured by the house rub with a tangy punch provided by a dollop of mango salsa and sour cream. The generous serving of shell-shaped pasta tossed in house-made sweet basil pesto should leave you replete.
Thin, blistered and crunchy, the fresh-from-stone-oven Salmon & Alfredo Pizza (RM28) left us gushing praises in its wake. We love the crisp dough base laden with voluptuous creaminess of the house-made alfredo sauce, flakes of cherry wood smoked salmon, tart pips of capers, sliced red onion and wild rocket leaves.
Chapters are renowned for two local mainstays: Mutton Tossed Basmati (RM28) and Mamak Mee Goreng (RM26). The basmati rice is bound to keep carb lovers returning for more as the rice is fully imbued by the Indian spices and curry leaves used to braise the mutton shoulder in. Accompanied by pickled onion & cucumber raita, it’s a surefire hit among Malaysians when late night hunger pangs hit. As for the latter, I'd say the noodles passed the taste test thanks to the squid, prawns and organic egg to enhance its tempting allure.
Dessert options boil down to either Salted Caramel Chilled Cheesecake (RM18) or Oozing Chocolate Cake. Let's not dwell too much on the decadent quotient of the cheesecake and take comfort the slice is enough to ensure the sweet-toothed leave in a good mood whilst toning down on the guilt factor.
For reservations, call Chapters Urban Bistro, tel: 03-7732 9484. The restaurant is
located at Lot 13, Heritage Lane, Empire Damansara, Jalan PJU 8/8a, Damansara Perdana, Selangor.