Woody P, its all about the food.
Woody P has great pedigree. With connections to Daylesford’s the Lake House and my favourite gastro pub The Healesville Hotel through head chef Clinton Camilleri, the odds were stacked firmly in favour of me walking away a very happy man. So we lock in the weekly date night, pick up my girl and strap ourselves in for what is sure to be a memorable evening at the latest addition to the Flinders Lane culinary fraternity.
So, the thing about Woody P is it’s all about the food. And the food is undeniably solid bistro fare, hearty and rustic enough to be comforting, but adequately refined to raise it to the standard befitting that of Flinders Lane. However, is food alone enough to carry a restaurant? At what point does the food become over-shadowed by a lacking of atmosphere? Woody P poses this very dilemma.
The restaurant is well fitted out, clean lines, quality fittings, acutely designed. That said, I felt like I was sitting in a well-designed work cafeteria. The tables are well sparse, the lighting well lit, and the crowd appropriately suited. And that’s where the problem lies. It’s just a little too formulaic. Even the neon sign on the wall is a all too reminiscent of neighbouring Chin Chin (and the downstairs Go-Go Club). There is a sense that we have been here before, and many times at that.
But the food is wonderful. Salmon Tartare beautifully presented with sliced radish and dollops of crème fraiche was a perfect launching pad for the evening. Slow cooked beef rib and pork scotch were supremely rich and satisfying, so much so that dessert was not required (even though the buffalo ricotta doughnuts almost tempted us.
The food at Woody P’s is difficult to fault, and in the scenic locations of Yarra Valley and Daylesford, it works brilliantly. We city dwellers however expect our restaurants to take the dining atmosphere up a notch.
121 Flinders Ln, Melb • 9654 5000
Open for lunch & dinner 7 days