When I started as the Freelance Restaurant Reviewer some thing like 16 restaurants ago, I wanted to develop a dialogue with the Owners or Managers as well as between  their customers.

Also coming from the Hospitality Industry, now the third largest employer in the UK, where I managed national hotel and restaurant chains, I wanted to celebrate the amazing collection of diverse restaurants that is to be found in Salisbury.

I have made the point before, that there are thousands of things that can go wrong in the Restaurant business. To be able to both create a Menu as well as a Brand concept, and then to consistently serve a variety of dishes in exactly the same way, every time that dish is ordered, requires great skill. 

Of course, although the food preparation is a vital component, so is the décor and ambiance of the restaurant.

Nothing, however, reflects on the overall customers experience greater than the skills of the waiting staff, in their direct and regular interplay with the customer both, when discussing the menu as well as serving the meal and particularly presenting the bill.

I recently went with a great friend to have lunch at the Haunch of Venison. I had wanted him to enjoy the Venison Casserole, that was always served in an individual enamel dish.

Sadly, with a new chef this was no longer available. The Venison Sausage Casserole was recommended, I questioned as to whether this also contained slices of venison and was told that it did. My friend elected to order the Beer Battered Fish and Chips, as our waitress had commented she always had that, as it was delicious.

Now I have always set out to be strictly fair in my comments, the Restaurants business is a tough one to be in. The battered Fish looked as if it had been in a fight.

It was thin and scrawny and over cooked, my casserole had no pieces of venison and was rather ordinary. I told the waitress that the food was, second rate, my friend refused to accept the service charge.

Salisbury Journal: Chapter HouseChapter House (Image: Newsquest)

The contrast to that experience when Di and I dined at the Chapter House really requires celebrating.

Our wonderful waitress Nicol short for Nicolette was simply fantastic. Originally from Romania, she has been at the Chapter House for ten years.

She knows the menu and the wines, It was a joy to be in her company.

I suggested to Gary, one of the restaurant owners, that he should try and clone her, as she was exceptional.

Nicol and I had an informative chat in regards to the wines and I was given a number of tasters while choosing which to select.

It was great fun and the difference between the choice from three Sauvignon Blancs, for our starters an example of the impact different soils and minerals have, in giving different ‘notes’ to the same grape.


From a selection of 10, priced from £4.95 to £10.50, we chose the Halloumi Fries (£5.95) with a roasted tomato dip, four pieces cut like chips.

Salisbury Journal: Baked Buffalo Chicken WingsBaked Buffalo Chicken Wings (Image: Newsquest)

They were crisp and looked great, Di would have preferred them to have been crisper. Scored 7.5/10. 

I chose Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings with a thick sticky sauce made in the kitchen.

Salisbury Journal: Baked Buffalo Chicken WingsBaked Buffalo Chicken Wings (Image: Newsquest)

It was a rich sauce, the wings being beautifully moist and in no way dry, just succulent. 8/10. 

Grills & Main Courses.

A choice of 15 dishes from £30 to £15.50.  

The restaurant is quite rightly renowned for it Grills, but the family who own this restaurant are from South Africa, so I elected to savour a dish that I had never had before: Trinchado (£17.95). 

Salisbury Journal: TrinchadoTrinchado (Image: Newsquest)

This is a spicy South African Portuguese braised beef dish, with flavours from onions, red chilli peppers, garlic, beef stock, red wine and olives, served with warm bread and fries. 8/10. 

I had a glass of delicious Pinotage from Stellenrust, South Africa.

Di chose crispy Sea Bass (£17.50) which was a lovely large piece with a portion of new potatoes, French beans, tomatoes and black olives (7.5/10). 

Salisbury Journal: Sea Bass with new potatoes, French beans, tomatoes and black olives


A selection of seven all priced at £7.95 A really fun selection.

We both selected Belgian waffle and caramel ice cream with toffee sauce and  toasted flaked almonds. 8/10.

Salisbury Journal: Belgian waffle and caramel ice cream with toffee sauce and toasted flaked almondsBelgian waffle and caramel ice cream with toffee sauce and toasted flaked almonds (Image: Newsquest)

Wine List

There is a comprehensive list of well selected wines a number from South Africa.

Wine by the glass from £5.40 to £10.30 by the bottle from £21.95 to £45.95.

Additional Thoughts  

From 12noon Monday to Friday there is a two course menu at £17 per person.

The Chapter House has 17 bedrooms of various sizes all colourfully decorated with various inbuilt facilities including in some fresh coffee machines, safes etc.

Overall score. 

Service, Ambience a well-deserved 10 with Nicol on Duty 12.

I recommend all our readers to dine out in Salisbury, it’s full of surprises.