Following on from my birthday discovery that one of my favourite Thai restaurants had shut down, it was my boyfriend’s turn to feel the devastation when we went out for dinner in Neutral Bay on Friday night. From just about day one, he has been a massive fan of the mouth-numbingly hot buffalo wings and slow-cooked BBQ pork ribs at Blue Plate, so he was shattered when we approached the restaurant, only to see a dark, empty room and a notice pinned to the door.
Fortunately, Neutral Bay does not lack for restaurants and we decided to try Woodland Kitchen & Bar, which is just a couple of doors down. A busy night, and having no booking meant that we were relegated to a table outside, which was fairly toasty under the heater for me in a coat; not so for my boyfriend who was rather inappropriately dressed for a Sydney winter evening! The menu at Woodland was extremely enticing, and I eventually chose the potato gnocchi, which arrived looking like an appealing, warm salad, perfect for a cold night.
I really enjoyed the crisp outside of the pan-fried gnocchi, however the inside was not quite the melt-in-your-mouth sensation that I was hoping for. The flavour combinations of the dish were great, with the subtle gnocchi and sweetness of the pumpkin working wonderfully with the rich butter sauce and sharp salted ricotta. It was slightly under-seasoned, but overall, a lovely main course.
My boyfriend went with the dry aged sirloin, which unfortunately arrived raw, rather than medium as requested. It did take some time to flag down a staff member to rectify this – it appears that being seated outside renders you somewhat invisible to the otherwise lovely waitstaff – and my boyfriend eventually resorted to hovering inside the restaurant to catch someone’s attention. I had almost finished my meal by the time the steak was returned to my boyfriend (along with a complimentary bowl of chips), so I did manage to snag a bite of it. I was impressed with the strong meaty flavour of the sirloin, which I haven’t really tasted in other steaks. My boyfriend was also happy with the taste, however he found the steak to be a bit too fatty for his liking, and the meat around the bone was still rather under-cooked.
I couldn’t go past the chocolate and caramel tart for dessert, and this was definitely the highlight of the meal. The dark chocolate tart was very rich, but not overly sweet, and was perfect with a swipe of caramel, a touch of cream and a chunk of airy honeycomb. The combination of all the elements was incredible and perfectly balanced, particularly the lovely honeycomb that just dissolved in the mouth and really lifted the dessert.
I will say that we did have to wait an awfully long time for our dessert – the table next to us ordered the same chocolate tart mere seconds before us, however by the time we received our dish, they had already finished theirs, paid their bill for dinner and were on the verge of leaving.
- Really interesting and tasty flavour combinations – there were a number of dishes on the menu that I’d like to go back and try!
- The service was friendly and pleasant, although as I have mentioned, it does appear to be a bit ‘out of sight, out of mind’ for patrons sitting outside. I may have to just make a reservation to sit inside next time!
Woodland Kitchen & Bar
Shop 2, 19-25 Grosvenor Street
Neutral Bay NSW 2089
T: (02) 9904 3400
W: Woodland Kitchen & Bar