Anyway our "date" was originally Charlie, Sarah, Stef and I - A team! But Stef was sick so four became three.
Appearance wise, Woody looks much like the others on the street. Long narrow dining hall, kitchen at the back...I could be describing Chin Chin or Fonda on Flinders Lane. It seems much more spacious though and the frantic, electric madness of both those places is turned down a notch for Woody. And Woody is deceptively bigger than it first appears - the ladies' bathrooms are a long walk away and downstairs so I wonder if more will be done with the space.
- White anchovy, caramelised onion, puff pastry
- Pork cheek croquettes, chorizo crumb, apple aioli
It's strange. Both these dishes were pretty good but reminded me of offerings from elsewhere. The croquettes were a bit like what I've had at Niew Amsterdam, These were executed pretty well with a crispy golden coating and dense pork meat on the inside. The apple aioli added some sweetness and pork and apple is classic. I'm not sure the creaminess of the aioli was required though as the croquette was pretty rich already. I'm not sure I could eat a whole serve or more than one, but the one I had was well received.
The anchovy on toast with caramelised onion was generous in size with plenty of anchovy laid out on rectangle of flaky pastry. Salty, sweet, flaky and slightly warm - pretty classic and very familiar.
So far, all pretty tasty but not that original or stand out. What's next?
Roast duck breast, confit leg pastry, radicchio, citrus
48-hour slow cooked beef rib, roast onion, gremolata
Braised rabbit, saffron gnocchi, sage, leek, prosciutto
Roast potato, garlic, lemon, thyme
Smoked ricotta, roast beetroot, heirloom carrot
I had the duck and the flavours of were well defined and balanced. Duck and citrus with a hint of bitterness from the radicchio is again a classic pairing. The confit leg was well spiced - not chilli spice but fragrant spice. The two slices of duck breast were cooked well - pink and juicy. I'd have liked more slices though!
My nibbles of the the slow cooked beef and the rabbit gnocchi continued the trend of good flavours and classic combos.
The potatoes were moreish and the smoked ricotta and beetroot salad was probably the most original dish we'd had so far. Flavour wise I liked the smokiness and earthiness of the pairing of cheese and veggies but the texture of the ricotta was a little cloying in the mouth.
Charlie had the Alba whisky fried custard, apple terrine, caramel ice cream. His smelt like Calvados which isn't surprising really with the apple element. And he was easily convinced into an accompanying snifter of whisky to enhance the experience! Definitely a grown up's dessert.
So Charlie's dessert was adults only, I reckon everyone would have enjoyed the doughnuts. Light yet doughy and not deep fried they were a little plain on their own and maybe needed that crunchy sugary crystal coating to be more doughnut like. But when combined with the lemon curd ice cream it was lovely. The ice cream alone was a little sweet and had I been eating it with no other accompaniment, an extra hit of tart lemon would have been welcome. This is one of those dishes were everything has to be eaten together for the balance of flavours to work.
Food wise - no complaints except maybe the remark that Woody needs to find his feet and perhaps a little injection of confidence or some time around the block will cause that to come out. I guess there's no substitute for experience and I think the food tasted of potential but were a bit safe.What was impressive though was that for a restaurant that's only been open for a mere number of days, the flavours did come together and the kitchen seemed to be competent and up to the job.
Where we could see some teething issues was in the service which although enthusiastic was erratic in attention and there wasn't enough foresight and follow up. What I mean by that is once a table is seated, there should be follow up to see if they're ready to order rather than swan around talking to fellow team members and ignoring the customers until they catch your eye. It's different if it's busy as then it's understandable you have other things to do but striding around and chit chatting makes us feel overlooked. Not a big deal and not a deal breaker but a little more experience will likely iron this out.
In all, it was an enjoyable Thursday evening, Not stand out yet, but hints of potential were experienced so time will tell.