Paddington is one of the old school brunch areas of Brisbane, with eateries along the winding Latrobe Terrace offering this up before it caught on in the rest of Brisbane. Chapter IV is one of these brunch options, housed in a converted worker’s cottage near the Antique Centre.
The exterior is understated, painted in a modern slate grey shade. It sits comfortably amidst its surroundings, rather than grabbing attention as you go past. It is clearly signed though, with “Chapter IV” in cursive lettering above the front of the eatery. You do have to find parking on the street, which can be a challenge at Paddington’s busier brunch times.
From the entrance, you can tell that the style is homely and cosy, with herbs in a pot by the door and a literal welcome mat out front. Information about the eatery is handwritten on the window glass.
Once through the door, you find yourself in a space with a farmhouse feel, with slightly worn wooden floorboards and wood-topped tables with different, but complimentary, classic styles of wooden chairs. The wooden walls are painted a cool white, giving the eatery an airy, modern feel. Black dividers criss cross the walls, accenting edges in sharp contrast, and adding visual interest. A few framed black and white prints on the wall give it a bit of character.
There are a few different seating sections, with tables just out the front of the eatery, tables that seat two to four in that main section, bench seating and longer tables to fit larger groups in another area, and seating on the back deck that gives you a sweeping view out over the surrounding neighbourhood (especially popular when the weather is nice). There is also a kids’ play area inside that is secured with a safety gate.
We were shown to an available table, which, like the other tables, was already set with glasses, condiments, a little artificial potted plant, a small chalkboard sign with the table number, and, most interestingly of all, a black leather-like pouch for each person that held the cutlery in individual buttoned sections. This had clearly been custom made, as it had “Chapter IV” debossed and coloured in gold on it.
A bottle of water and menus were brought to the table. The tri-fold menu indicated on the front that they did all day breakfasts. This is generally a popular thing, especially on weekends, when, how sad is it to miss out on that really delicious-sounding dish in the menu because you wanted to sleep in for 15 more minutes without the demands of work, and so get there just after the kitchen has stopped serving it? The menu contents are divided into sections of Something Light, All Day Breakfast, which has sub-sections of Traditional Old School and Something Special, Lunch (which presumably is not breakfast), and things to share. They also have a section of Kid’s Meal dishes, which come with a juice or babycino (for the next generation of hipsters), and a section of their staple cakes (which you can also order whole ones of).
We couldn’t help but focus our attention on the Something Special section, and out of it, picked the Brekky Reuben and the Crispy Potato and Cheddar Hash Cakes. Although the Signature Softshell Crab Eggs Benedict also looked tempting on the menu and was clearly popular on Instagram, we had had the softshell crab croissant dish at Freja’s Cafe a few times not that long ago, and felt like other foods.
Drinks were first to arrive at the table. The flat white with an extra shot was smooth, strong, and not bitter.
The soy iced latte was nicely chilled, and had nutty, rounded notes. It was a little fruity, but not acidic.
The Brekky Reuben was described in the menu as their secret recipe of brisket pastrami with fried hen’s egg, sriracha aioli, fresh baby rocket, and swiss cheese on organic rye toast, with pickled cucumber ribbon. Your typical reuben sandwich is all about the meat and cheese, and would be a long way from getting near a list of healthy food. In this case, however, greens actually dominated the plate on presentation, abundantly present under the sunny side up fried egg and hiding the other components from view.
Underneath that was a layer of the melted swiss cheese, properly melted so that it was stretchy, and melded with the other ingredients. The pastrami was sliced to just the right thickness, more substantial than shavings, but not chunky to the point where it was like trying to take bites out of a slab of meat. There was also not just a token amount of pastrami, but a good stack of layers.The meat was salty, and had a little spicy heat. The fried egg had a springy white, and a just runny yolk. The rye bread sandwiching the contents was also thick cut, with seeded mustard spread on one slice, and the sriracha aioli drizzled over the other slice. When eaten together, it was a tasty, moreish, meaty, cheesy combination with a little heat, and a good amount of moisture to keep things together. The pickled cucumber ribbons were served separate from the sandwich, in a serving dish shaped like a spoon. The thin slices had crunch, and a sweet and tart pickle that had a little heat. It was a good, crisp contrast to the flavours and textures of the sandwich.
The other dish we had was the Crispy potato and cheddar hash cakes with chunky specks (their description), pearl onion, rosemary and mushroom jus, topped with poached egg, semi dried tomato sugo, and crispy kale. This was brought to the table piping hot. There were two of the hash cakes in cylindrical form, promisingly golden brown on the outside. They did indeed deliver a good crunch on the outside. The inside was a mix of smooth potato mash and cooked potato chunks, so it had textural variation. After previous experience at an eatery that served up one single large brick of a potato croquette (post on that yet to be done), we decided that the decision of the Chapter IV chefs to serve up two smaller hash cakes was a good one, with a much better crispy outer surface area to soft inside content ratio being delivered. The tomato sugo atop it had a good, concentrated tomato flavour, and was a little tangy, but not too sour. The hash cakes did get a little soggy where the sugo was after a bit, but they maintained crispness for a reasonable amount of time. The pieces of speck were thick cut, and had a good savoury, meaty flavour. There were cooked pearl mushrooms in the base of the dish, plump and juicy, which, on our part, we much preferred to just pearl onions. There were some caramelised onion pieces in the mix as well, in case anyone else really wanted onions. The poached egg had a nicely runny yolk. The kale chips were a great accompaniment. They were well-seasoned, airy, and crisp. Though kale has had its time as a hipster food, this was a way of preparing it that was delicious beyond the hype, and would warrant ordering more. It all worked well together as a dish.
We found the food at Chapter IV tasty and filling. The elements in each dish were well done, with a good mix of flavours. It was only as we were on our way out to pay that it dawned on us that we had actually been there a number of years ago. We had been underwhelmed then, so not returned in the interim. It has certainly improved since then, and is now a place we would recommend to people. The layout with different sections to suit the different needs of diners is also a good idea. Add this to your list of Paddington brunch destinations.
Address: 180 Latrobe Terrace, Paddington
Phone: 07 3367 1285
Website: Chapter IV