Now & Then magazine review

Simon Ward, Food correspondent for Now & Then Magazine writes:
Rating: 9/10

When Chapters Hotel and Restaurant was put on the market, the rumours began to fly. We were told this historic listed building was going to be turned into flats, or was it offices? Happily Steven Bell had other ideas and thanks to his investment, the buzz has returned to this popular Stokesley venue.

We chose to eat in the newly refurbished Bistro, stylish, yet cosy. The menu is impressive, and offers an exciting selection of dishes. Starters include a Risotto of wild mushrooms; pan fried squid with chilli and lime dressing; and chicken liver pate. For starters my wife chose an unusual and delicious ballontine of organic chicken and ham hock. My salmon fish cakes with baby spinach and creme fraiche were a generous well presented portion.
My wife’s sea bass which followed, served with puy lentils and globe artichoke puree, was equally applauded. I followed with a succulent braised shank of lamb which was cooked to perfection and fell from the bone.

Our choice of wine was a 1998 Chateau Musar priced keenly at £15.25. Tempted by the half-dozen choices of desserts on offer, I was not disappointed by the mandarin scented chocolate mousse with orange sorbet.
Two courses in the Bistro are charged at £16.95 and for three courses the price rises to £19.95. With the addition of pre- dinner drinks, a bottle of sparkling water and coffee, our bill came to £52.80

Interestingly, although Victor Vassallo does not impose a dress code on his diners, there is a uniformity about his well dressed staff who are all smartly attired in black and white and provided excellent, unobtrusive service.
If this standard can be maintained , there is little doubt that Chapters under the new owner will be a resounding success. Chapters is open Tuesday to Saturday from 6-30pm. Last orders are 10-30pm.

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