Neutral Bay has welcomes a neighbourhood-style bistro with the arrival of Woodland Kitchen & Bar.
Woodland Kitchen & Bar, Neutral Bay
Located along the restaurant-heavy Grosvernor Road, the welcoming venue offers indoor and outdoor seating and serves well-executed Modern Australian fare with a focus on quality produce.
Warm wood tones and sleek, long and clean lines that accentuate the dining room give the restaurant an inviting feel that makes you feel at home on your first visit.
Cosy Private Area
Woodland has evolved from Pony Dining and is the solo venture of chef Damian Heads and wife/partner Jenni Heads who bring a much welcomed casual dining experience without the trend of sharing small plates.
The name of the restaurant is derived from the signature wood-fired dishes using iron bark timber but as Chef Damian Heads explains, the wood grill is a subtle undertone of the menu.
Blood Orange Margarita
The bar serves pre-dinner cocktails that are budget-friendly, albeit a little on the sweet side such as Woodland Whimsy ($12) and the Blood Orange Margarita ($15). The wine list was designed around customer needs, offering a range of good drinking wines with options by the glass and half a bottle carafe for the lunch crowd and solo diners. There’s even a BYO option ($5 per person) should you wish to bring your favourite wine from your cellar.
Oyster Shot Bloody Mary
The food menu offers a choice of Raw and Chilled Seafood such as the Oyster Shot, Bloody Mary (2 for $8.50), packing good heat and flavour from the briny Wagonga Inlet Sydney rock oyster.
Yellowfin Tuna Spring Roll, Soy Bean Sauce
The Yellowfin Tuna Spring Roll with Soy Bean Sauce ($16) is a signature dish that is carried over from the Pony days. As delicious as it looks, the tuna has a delicate flavour and comes wrapped with black cabbage, pickled ginger and cracked pepper with an edamame puree that has a little kick from the chilli, coriander oil and green Tabasco.
Grilled Ciabatta, Whipped Fetta, Marinated Olives
For the Table section of the menu offers Grilled Ciabatta, Whipped Fetta, Marinated Olives ($9.50), a simple dish that packs a lot of flavour. The break has a lovely smoky flavour and the fetta has been whipped to a light texture with olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.
Sautéed Calamari and Chorizo
From the Starters comes the tender and mildly-spiced Sautéed Calamari and Chorizo ($16.80) cooked in a house-made rich tomato sauce with white beans,chorizo and grilled sourdough. The calamari is sautéed in a pan with the chorizo and beans, then deglazed with sherry fino.
Baked Onion and Goats Cheese Flan (tasting size)
The Baked Onion and Goats Cheese Flan ($14.50), shown in a tasting size above would make a great lunch dish. The light butter puff pastry along with the Chabichou goats cheese and caramelised onions melt in the mouth and go well with the wood-fired asparagus in the tart.
It’s not all wood-fired items on the menu. The Potato Gnocchi ($18 entree /$27 main) with roasted pumpkin, walnuts, burnt butter, salted ricotta is made in house from pink eye potatoes.
Pescatarians can opt for the grilled Salmon ($28) with pickled beetroot, orange, fetta and mint.
The Lamb Backstrap ($34) delights with its Mediterranean flavours with a smoky eggplant quinoa, tomato and herb salad,
Grass Fed Eye Fillet
while the Eye Fillet ($34), a tender 200g piece of grass fed beef is well-cooked on the wood-fired grill and comes with roasted baby carrots, eschallots and salsa verde.
Caramel and Chocolate Tart
When it comes to Dessert, don’t miss the Caramel and Chocolate Tart ($14.50). The pastry is made in-house,and the chocolate is a mix of Calibut dark and milk chocolate that is not overly sweet. However, once you take a spoonful with the salted caramel and the honeycomb, you’re in for a taste sensation.
Chef Damian Heads
Woodland Kitchen & Bar is what every suburb needs. The venue is warm and the ambience is inviting whether you’re dining in a group, as a couple, or as a family. A kids’ menu for ages 12 and under offers a good selection of $10 dishes such as Penne Bolognaise and Grilled Salmon or Steak. The service is welcoming and the tasty and unpretentious food menu that celebrates produce is well worth the jaunt across the bridge.
Woodland Kitchen and Bar
2/19-25 Grosvenor Street
Neutral Bay NSW 2089
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