Eating Out, Melbourne

Woodland House, Williams Road, Melbourne

May 28, 2014
Woodland House

Located in the former Jacques Reymond premises, Woodland House is a fine dining establishment that is run by two of Jacques Reymond’s former chefs. Set in a grand in an old Victorian mansion, the dining room is elegant and we were seated in front of a window with views overlooking the fountain.

As it was a Sunday lunch, there were two options to choose from, a four course menu at $80 per person or a six course menu at $110 per person. In the name of food blogging, we opted for the six course menu. Neither of the menu options include wine so they are on the pricier side, but as Woodland House markets themselves as a fine dining restaurant this is not too surprising.

We are greeted at the door and seated quickly, and asked if we would like a glass of champagne or if we would prefer to take a look at the wine list. We opt to look at the wine list as this suits us better, but the offer of champagne is a nice touch. Before we begin, we are given 4 giant purple potato chips, served on a log with sections cut out for the chips to sit in. Made from purple congo potatoes and tapioca, that are then dried and served wafer thin, these don’t have a particularly strong taste but are more a fun conversation starter.

Purple potato chips

Purple potato chips

Service is incredibly attentive, and when our first course comes out we are told that the aged balsamic is in the form of balsamic pearls that burst in the mouth in a light vinegary flavour. This dish is a fresh take on the traditional tomato and mozzarella salad, with the flavours of the basil, balsamic, and mozzarella clearly there but served in a different way. It was light and clean tasting which is perfect for a first course.

Tomato and sweet peppers

Tomato & sweet peppers, buffalo mozzarella, aged balsamic

Our second course of cured salmon is beautifully presented, with the colour of the salmon and prawns standing out on the plate. It is served with a crème fraiche that tastes as though it has some avocado in it, and the smoked eel foam brings a deepness to the dish. The prawns are delicious and so fresh that I could still smell the ocean.  Although the flavours work really well when combined, the salmon alone doesn’t have much taste which let the dish down a bit.

Cured salmon

Cured salmon, watercress and crème fraiche, Port Lincoln prawn

The next course was another fish dish featuring a King George Whiting, a fine-flaked and delicate tasting fish. Served on a bed of squid ink pasta with wild pine mushrooms cooked in a seaweed butter, this dish was superb. The flavours of the mushroom didn’t overwhelm the white fish and the squid ink pasta was a beautiful and startling contrast on the plate.

King George Whiting

King George Whiting, cuttlefish and ink, wild pine mushrooms

A Flinders Island wallaby was the next dish to be served and I had worried that it might be tough due to the leanness of the meat (and because it was a wallaby and they’re pretty cute) all my concerns were cast aside though (sorry wallaby) as the meat was wonderfully tender. Grilled palm heart and candied cumquats accompanied the meat and gave wonderful bursts of sweet, citrus flavours.

Flinders Island wallaby

Flinders Island wallaby, grilled palm heart and candied cumquat

Our fifth course was the veal de jour featuring a beautifully cooked piece of veal and resting on top, was a young asparagus stalk. I couldn’t complain about anything on this plate, again the meat was tender and the combination of flavours was fantastic. I felt that care was taken into plating and, like all the previous dishes, it was gorgeous to look at. I apologise for the lack of detail about the sauces, but I was so taken by how fantastic this tasted that I forgot to take notes. I will have to return.

Veal de jour

Veal de jour

Dessert is a zingy and light rhubarb and lemon dish but served with two warm donuts one with a rhubarb filling and the other with a salt water caramel filling. I had to save the salt water caramel donut for last given my love obsession with any form of salt and caramel. I enjoyed every bite of this dessert, the zestiness of the lemon combined with the wattletree crumb and the rhubarb were a wonderful combination and one I would go back for. The donuts were served warm and were seriously good. What I really enjoyed about this dessert was how light it was, the two donuts added to it rather than make it heavy. Definitely a dessert success.

Rhubarb, elderberry, roasted lemon

Rhubarb, elderberry, roasted lemon

We finished the meal off with coffee and tea. I didn’t have a regular green tea, instead I had green tea and popcorn, an intriguing combination and one I had to try. It was surprisingly good with only a hint of popcorn in the green tea which I enjoyed.

Green tea and popcorn

Green tea and popcorn

We left feeling satisfied and well cared for. The attentiveness of  the staff as well as their description of each dish was faultless and made for a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience. Don’t be fooled by the menu’s basic descriptions, this is food that is innovative and respectful of the ingredients used.
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