Chapel (n): ‘a religious place’: Amen to that

ASIAN fusion is a modern interpretation of Asian food—which is not what Maylands’ Chapels on Whatley does, I was told sternly.

Nope, Chapels showcases the amazing diversity of the many and varied cultures across Asia, ranging from China to Vietnam and a swag in between—with more than a nod to colonial influences.

There’s a dash of Dutch, British and Portuguese together with Indian, Chinese and Malay, as a perusal of the menu reveals.

Soaring raw brick walls, timber ceilings and an eclectic mix of Asian and European bric a brac and a plethora of English fine bone china (much of it for sale) give the cafe the feeling of a Hong Kong godown (warehouse), circa 1900.

A variety of Chinese or Indian teas are served in exquisite Royal Doulton, Royal Albert and Wedgwood china (the waiter said she’d nightmares when she realised how much a cup and saucer cost, let alone the tea pot).

Or you can enjoy a choice of jasmine teas, including dragon pearls, or a selection of 10 different green teas (served in glass teapots) that sprout like beautiful flowers.

Buy a pot of tea ($5.50) and you can try any others for no extra charge over a two-hour period. A lovely way to spend some time.

It’s a testament to Chapels’ popularity that despite a particularly wild, wet Monday the place was jumping.

What you eat can be as familiar as poached eggs or salmon bagel, but why would you when there’s kimchi pancakes ($16.95) on the menu.

13. 31FOOD

Kimchi is fermented vegetables, usually cabbage, and is a staple Korean ingredient.

The pancakes were fantastic, an interesting orange colour and slightly chewy, with a flavour I failed to identify, but thoroughly enjoyed to the end.

It was accompanied by a salad of carrot, chinese cabbage and onion with a rice wine vinaigrette that had a pleasant sesame oil overtone.

My lunch companion was equally impressed with her Peking duck and orange salad ($27.95). Why have we never renamed it Beijing duck, by the way? The bird was beautifully cooked and tender, with no hint of oiliness you can find with duck. Served on a bed of Asian greens with a sweet soy and sesame seed dressing it was duck a l’orange with an Asian zing, she happily reported.

In adventurous mode we went for the pandan cake ($5.50), with the oriental beauty flowering green tea for me and a particularly fine coffee for my mate.

The bright green cake was moist, light and delicately flavoured by the pandan leaves that give it its colour, and the tea was a joy to watch unfold and a delight on the tongue.

Responding to demand, Chapels is now open Friday and Saturday for dinner, with live music adding to the fantastic and lively ambience of this amazing eatery.

Chapels on Whatley
196 Whatley Crescent, Maylands
9272 7738
Open Wed to Monday 8am–5pm, and dinner Fri and Sat.
Closed Tues

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