Earlier this year I noticed that one of our favourite restaurants in Perth, Basq, has closed down. But in September, a new restaurant in the same location was born – Chapters Bistro in Currambine.
I started following them on social media and one day I was browsing their menu on their website when something caught my eye – koeksusters on the dessert menu! My eyes nearly popped out of my head; I’d never seen them on a restaurant menu in Perth ever.
Not only did they have koeksusters on the menu, but they also had peri-peri chicken and biltong too. There had to be a South African behind this, right?
Quickly, I messaged the restaurant and asked if they were South African. The owners were quick to reply that they were from the UK but their head chef, Sherry Phillip, was from South Africa. After an email chat, I was invited to try out their new summer menu and spread to word to other South Africans in Perth.
Chapters Bistro Currambine
Chapters Bistro can be found opposite Grand Cinemas in Currambine Central. It’s in the same location that Basq used to be, and the interior of the restaurant is almost identical as they took it over as is back in September.
They had 2 weeks to launch and somehow, they managed it! The owners are from the UK, Lesley and Neil Herbert. They’ve been in Perth for 13 years, and Neil has been a chef at some top restaurants in the UK and in Perth.
Neil and Lesley also co-own The Pickled Herring in Two Rocks. At Chapters Bistro, however, they’re both front of house, and so they needed a head chef to take the helm in the kitchen.
South African Head Chef At Chapters Bistro
Enter Sherry Phillips, a South African mum of 2 who hadn’t worked for several years after taking time off to raise her young family. Neil got wind of her incredible talents in the kitchen via a friend and after a couple of short interviews that turned into hours of chatting and planning, she was hired.
I chatted to Sherry about her journey to Perth and it was similar to many other South Africans who’ve made the move.
Having lived in Zimbabwe, Malawi, and South Africa, she first moved to Australia in 2003. Sherry started off in Melbourne as she had friends and family already there. Not much long after that, she met her Aussie husband there, and they were both headhunted to work in the kitchens on the mines in WA.
That was 10 years ago and they’ve been here ever since.
When Neil was on the lookout for a head chef he was very keen to hire a female head chef. He heard of Sherry’s amazing talents with steak and Portuguese sauce and invited her for an interview that was supposed to be 20 minutes and turned into 5 hours.
And that, they say, is history.
Chapters Bistro Menu – Starters
The summer menu was launching the day we dined at Chapters Bistro. That meant no more koeksisters on the menu (boo) but a whole range of amazing new dishes to sample.
Sherry was quite excited to have us as guinea pigs to trial her new menu on, so we started with the Chapters Sharing Plate ($29).
It contained an assortment of mouth-watering nibbles – baked brie with blackberries, freshly baked baguette, smoked chicken, avocado and whipped Danish feta with homemade vegan aioli, biltong, and cornichons.
It looked so good I didn’t know where to start. Mr C dived into the smoked chicken (he loved it when we were in South Africa but it’s not something you find as easily here).
I made a beeline for the baked brie which is a real treat for me – it was warm and gooey and sweetened by the berries, it was simply heavenly.
The whole tasting board will serve 2 – 3 easily.
The biltong was excellent (even Mr C who never normally eats it, tried it and enjoyed it), and the whipped feta was melt-in-your-mouth. Being half-Greek I can never turn down a good feta.
Chapters Bistro Menu – Mains
Mini C went for one of his favourites – kids fish and chips ($12). The fish was excellent and he loved it – we were all surprised to hear that it was in fact mackerel.
It can be an oily fish but it was very tasty and not oily at all. If your kids are put off by knowing, just don’t ask what the fish of the day is!
Mini C is normally allergic to any salad even touching his plate, but he tasted the dressing and declared it a hit – high praise indeed!
Sherry then brought us some samples to try – first was the biltong, apple, cottage cheese, and celery salad, drizzled with a lemon dressing ($18).
It might sound like an odd combination, but it went together so well and was very refreshing.
Next up, a taster Sherry was very excited about – health bread, something we’d often see in South Africa, but not so much here in Australia.
The recipe is credited to her old employer back in Hillcrest, KZN, Jenny Geiger at the Woodrose Coffee Shop. It was the first loaf of health bread baked for the new menu and it will be served as part of the Woodrose sandwich on the light lunch menu – an open sandwich of bacon and pate.
It was delicious – I could have eaten the whole loaf!
For mains, Mr C was persuaded to go for the rump steak ($29), which Sherry advised was Grade 5 Wagyu beef.
It came cooked to perfection, with a round of Café de Paris butter oozing on the top, accompanied by a well-dressed rocket salad and some thick cut chips.
I went for their house-made tagliatelle with a seafood bisque ($28), which they reduce to a thick sauce.
The seafood in the dish will change daily according to what’s fresh and available. On the day, mine had mussels, clams, squid, prawns, and fish (I forgot to ask what kind but it was really tasty).
If you’re a pasta lover, I’d highly recommend this dish.
Because Sherry had fed us so well, we had absolutely zero space for dessert – but that means we’ll have to go back soon and try one (or two!).
Mini C always has room for dessert so he had ice cream with chocolate sauce ($3.50) which is always a winner.
Overall Experience At Chapters Bistro Currambine
As you can probably tell, we loved our experience at Chapters Bistro in Currambine. It’s great to know we’ve got a new awesome restaurant not too far away.
They have several special nights during the week when you can get a main and a drink for $20-25 (depending on the offer) and kids eat free too on some of the special nights, meaning your bill won’t break the bank if you’re a family looking for an easy option for dinner.
They’ve also got lots of cocktail specials and for the whole of December you can get a Dom Pedro, so don’t miss out!
With a menu that pushes the boundaries but still manages to offer firm favourites, I’ve got a feeling Chapters Bistro will do very well.
We’ll certainly be back soon and telling our friends to check it out!
Find them at:
Website – https://www.chaptersbistro.com/
Address – Shop 102/1244 Marmion Ave, Currambine WA 6028
Phone – (08) 9304 0935
Thank you to Neil, Lesley and Sherry for hosting us. We paid for all our drinks and all opinions are my own.