I first visited Woodland Kitchen & Bar for dinner on New Year’s Eve 2013 (see more here). I said then that I’d be back soon but it’s been over 6 months and I’ve only just got around to it. When a friend, a Neutral Bay local, recommended their weekend breakfast I decided to visit for Sunday brunch.
The restaurant, formerly known as Pony Dining, is brought to you by local husband and wife team Damien and Jenni Heads. Damien has a strong background, having headed up the kitchen at several well known Sydney restaurants, including Garfish and Steel Bar & Grill. He’s also appeared on the TV series Ready Steady Cook. So, you can be sure that your feast here is in safe and experienced hands.
The restaurant interior is modern and sleek – with angular features, stunning timber and an open kitchen. It’s almost New York-esk. There’s a small but cosy bar and long wrap around leather banquette seating encompasses the dining area.
I was about to write that the good thing about breakfast here is that it’s served between 10am and midday. But then I realised there’s actually lots of good things about breakfast at Woodland Kitchen & Bar………….
- The 10am to midday serving time means you can call it brunch instead of brekkie, by which time it’s sensible to accompany your eggs with a Bucks Fizz or a Pimms Royale.
- From what I gathered because it’s no hole in the wall cafe you don’t have to wait for a table or feel rushed to leave after feasting. So yes you can order a second Bucks Fizz.
- The menu is limited to a handful of dishes – so you won’t strain your brain or annoy your dining partner by deliberating your choice for too long.
- Your food is cooked by experienced restaurant quality chefs. Indeed on my visit even the owner Damien was in the kitchen. Clearly breakfast is treated with the same respect as lunch and dinner.
- The produce is good quality. Free range eggs, sourdough bread, butcher quality pork & fennel sausages and Campos coffee.
- Prices are reasonable at between $5 and $18. It’s actually priced similar to many of the casual cafés around Neutral Bay.
- You can rock up in your sports gear, and despite the restaurant setting I got the impression you’d be welcome.
- Not only is it child friendly but there’s actually room between the tables to accommodate a pram or pushchair.
Onto the food.
The omelette was cooked just how I’d prepare it at home – lots of spinach and mushrooms and just enough cheese to give it flavour, without the cheese oozing out of every corner. One slice of sourdough was just enough on the side. Overall a protein hit that kept my hunger at bay right through to dinner time.
I challenged my husband on whether he really needed to order this – given that we had a Sunday roast planned at home, with all the trimmings, later that day. Strictly speaking I also pointed out that I wouldn’t consider this a wise feast – mainly because of the lashings of bacon. But he justified it by having his eggs poached and also by pointing out that it would make a great picture for my blog.
The portion size was big enough to justify the big breakfast label without him walking away stuffed. His verdict? The eggs were soft and runny and nothing was too oily or greasy. The bacon was his highlight – it’s cooked on the wood fire grill. Slow burning charcoal and logs of ironbark provide an intense heat and a unique smoky aroma.
The menu is designed to be “no fuss food with honest flavours”. So, if you’re a superfood breakfast type who gets weekend kicks from chia seeds, almond milk, buckwheat and kale then you may be disappointed. But, if like me you like a simple and hearty breakfast that beats what you’d whip up at home then drop your usual ‘I order the same dish every week’ café and give Woodland Kitchen & Bar a go.
By Feast Wisely
- Shop 2 / 19-25 Grosvenor Street, Neutral Bay, NSW 2089
- 02 9904 3400
- Dinner bookings recommended
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