I can’t think of many better places to spend a balmy summer Friday evening in Perth, than in the courtyard of Chapels on Whatley. Not only is this earthy red brick building a restaurant, it is also a stylish tea emporium and a homewares store. Add a funky cocktail menu and chanteuse Masina Miller to the mix with her smooth jazz repertoire, and you have an evening ahead guaranteed to please. With fairy lights, red lanterns, and tree fronds gently fluttering in the breeze, you feel as though you’re miles away from the busy little strip opposite the Maylands train station.
Our group of 10 nestled into the courtyard and made a start on the Happy Hour cocktails; an absolute bargain at $9.95 each. Between us we managed to work our way through a cocktail menu of Angry Pandas, Melaka Margaritas, Chapel’s Emperors, Red & White Sangrias, Bangkok Bangers and Espresso Martinis.
Chapels serves Eurasian food ranging from Singaporean chicken curry, dhal and parathas, chicken satay and beef noodles, to boards of food with a selection of tasty morsels. The food reflects the melange of cuisines in South-East Asia, and even includes homage to the French influence by way of a French charcuterie board of duck and plum rillettes, chicken terrine with Cumberland sauce, and chicken marsala pate.
A friend and I shared the charcuterie board and the Singaporean chicken curry; a deliciously mild and smooth curry and quite different to the spicy Indian curries I normally eat.We devoured everything on our charcuterie board – the pate, terrine and rillettes were simply delicious. I don’t eat pork, so the Lupchong sausages were left to my friend. We both agreed the board could have done without the sausage; it’s not identifiable as French unlike the other offerings, and didn’t add any wow factor. Some other veggie or pickle could easily be substituted without any loss to the integrity of the dish. Served with chargrilled olive bread, pickles, and drizzled with balsamic, everything else on the board was a taste sensation. Our eyes were definitely too big for our fat bellies as half of our chicken curry dish went begging, and no-one else was able to oblige us by finishing it. Room had to be made for dessert after all.
One of our group who adores satay, declared the generous chicken satay sticks on its bed of salad and potatoes, a winner. Different from the usual satay with rice, but Chapels likes to trick things up a bit and make food more interesting. And who doesn’t love potatoes?
Not to be outdone by all the meat dishes, one of our group opted for the dhal with parathas, raita and relish. Judging by her empty plate, this hearty vegetarian meal was a tasty and healthy change from her usual carnivorous diet.Many cocktails, a jug of red Sangria and several glasses of wine later, while chilling out to the sounds of the smooth jazz duo playing inside, we decided it was time to bring on the pudding. Show me a group of women who don’t secretly want to hoover up oozing plates of chocolatey, caramely, creamy gooey sweetness and I’ll give you a million bucks my friend. We all swoon at the prospect of a delicious dessert.
A good dessert – no, a great dessert, is worth a week’s worth of main dishes. Seriously. And I always try and leave room for a sweet treat if I’m out dining some place where love and attention is paid to the grand old pud. Chocolate fondant with vanilla ice-cream is the dish that bowls me over every time, so to avoid being greedy, my friend and I decided to share one…..and then to finish with a salted caramel macaron. Each.Friday nights at Chapels are enhanced with the sound of soft jazzy tunes coming from the main dining area. It’s hard to find fault with this establishment really. You’re surrounded by interesting and beautiful wall art and homewares everywhere you look. The food is delicious and if you weren’t greedy, you could get away with sharing a board between two people.
Happy Hour cocktails are a big drawcard between 5 and 6pm , so get here early to take advantage of that. And, the big big plus – Chapels gets a major tick for taking separate billing. For a group of 10 people that is no minor thing. I can think of very few places in Perth or anywhere else, that agree to separate billing but as owner Keith pointed out; it’s not hard to do at all. And that is something that will ensure my group of friends and I will return here time and time again.