Forget the West End - Bromley is the epicure's new mecca

The culinary forces of suburbia struck a powerful blow against London's heartland of fine dining yesterday when one of its number was named the AA's Restaurant of the Year for England.

Chapter One, a restaurant at Farnborough Common in the London borough of Bromley, was praised by inspectors from the guide for its "exceptional food" at affordable prices.

"It jumped out at us," said Nicola Atkinson, the press officer of the AA. "We thought it was worth the effort of going out to Bromley. It's not on everyone's road map."

Although it is outranked by four restaurants for quality of food, Chapter One, which serves modern European food, came out on top in England because of ambience, service and value for money.

A three-course à la carte costs £26.95 for dinner and less than £20 for lunch. "We're extremely pleased with the award. We got it for the whole package," said Kelly Young, the assistant manager.

Peter Birnie, the AA's chief inspector, said: "This restaurant has a winning formula with its devotion to the local market, dishes that contain distinct flavours and well-balanced concepts, a lack of fuss and great-value menus that include plenty of luxury ingredients."

The Scottish winner was The Buttery in Glasgow, a timbered 19th-century tavern. It was closed in January last year when its former owners decided it was no longer competitive. Since then, the restaurant has thrived under a new team that moved in.

The winner of the award in Wales was the Foxhunter Inn, a Grade II-listed con-verted pub in the small village of Nant-y-derry, near Abergavenny.

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