On Wednesday night Boyfriend and I were lucky enough to be invited to Wooden Spoon Bar and Restaurant located on Military Road in Cremorne.
We were pretty excited to begin with (trying new places is definitely our thing) but we had NO idea of the treat in store for us.
I’m not 100% sure what it was before, but Wooden Spoon has a brand spanking new interior and menu.
The new interior is super impressive.
At first instance you see a combination of wooden and leather furniture with cushions and plants and bookshelves lined with mini blackboards and frames, wine bottles and various other knickknacks. There’s mirrors and frames on the walls and a tripod lamp that’s been on my wishlist for ages. It’s this kind of attention to detail that really sets a place apart.
The whole front is an uber stylish bar area. There’s a combination of bar stools and bar tables as well as couches and coffee tables.
It’s got an awesome chilled vibe and I can imagine it would be a perfect place to stop in for a drink before or after visiting the Orpheum Theatre in Cremorne (they have a discount special for people with movie tickets too!) or to spend an evening catching up with friends over a few drinks.
We start on one of the couches where we’re offered something to drink. The bartender, who is so nice and friendly by the way, tells us if there’s a classic cocktail not on the menu or if we’d like something different, he’d be more than happy to whip it up for us. Very generous but there was no need. The cocktail menu is incredibly enticing. We had a lot of trouble narrowing down our choices as it was.
In the end we decided to order two different ones and taste each others.
Our first choice was “Strawberries and Cream” – “Sailor Jerry Rum shaken with strawberries and lemon juice with a strawberry cream float” ($17.00). If you’re a fan of sweet, this one’s for you. Luckily I am a big fan of sweet and this drink was so incredibly delicious, literally like a strawberries and cream lolly. It went down perhaps a little bit too easily (I’d be in trouble if I hadn’t been moving on to dinner!). I’m not a fan of super strong alcoholic-tasting cocktails so for me this cocktail was perfect.
Our second choice was “Cider ‘n’ Black” – “Smirnoff Black Vodka and Chambord blended with fresh blackberries, lemon and apple juice then topped with Magner’s cider” ($16). A cocktail made with cider? It was a no brainer, really.
This cocktail was super refreshing and, again, very easy to drink.
Out the back is the dining area dubbed the “Umbrella Courtyard”. It’s nice out here too, in a different way. It’s chilled and brighter, with wooden tables topped with candles in glass jars. And of course, there’s the feature: a big black umbrella in the centre of the courtyard. It added a pretty cool touch to this area, bringing it all together. And the hanging lamps were really cool.
The new menu had me a little bit excited. Okay, a lot excited. There’s a whole range of scrumptious sounding share plates or you can opt for a set menu of 5 courses for $56. This includes a glass of wine which I think is pretty awesome value.
The share plates are quite expensive (in the vicinity of $24) so unless you’re going with a group of people, the set menu will be the best value.
We had the set menu.
Oh. My. God. All five courses were so ridiculously delicious when we were asked to nominate a favourite I COULDN’T DO IT. Boyfriend picked course 4 or 5. (You’ll see!)
Reminiscing about this now just makes me so happy. GOOD FOOD MAKES ME HAPPY.
Boyfriend ordered a Sauvignon Blanc as his wine with the set menu but after the cocktails I had to refrain. I was the driver. I had a sip though and it was smooth and refreshing. (Sorry, I can’t speak wine. But it tasted good to me and Boyfriend enjoyed it).
Our first course was a plate of “Poached Pear, rocket leaf, Serrano ham and Roquefort cheese”.
I really love it when people come up with food combinations that just work. Things you might not necessarily think of and wouldn’t eat on any old day.
This was one of those combinations.
A bite of Serrano ham with Roquefort cheese, poached pear and almond on a crispy crouton was phenomenal. The whole thing was a burst of different flavours and textures – salty and sweet, crunchy and soft.
I also loved the presentation. It all looked so stunning laid out on a little wooden board, like a personal little antipasto platter.
Our second course was “Seared Scallops, green pea and lemon crush, bacon brittle”.
I’m a big fan of the scallops, puree, chorizo combination and this take was just as amazing.
Again, this was a great example of matching different flavours and ingredients to create something sensational. Not to mention, in my humble opinion, the scallops were seared absolutely perfectly. They were slightly crispy on the outside and gorgeously white on the inside. The pea puree tasted so fresh and pea-like (that sounds like a given, I know, but what I’m trying to say is that the pea flavour was retained completely. Magnified even!). And of course the bacon brittle added that salty crunch that complemented the scallops and the fresh puree perfectly.
Next up was Zucchini flowers stuffed with goats cheese and basil and served with tomato and beans.
You know how I feel about goats cheese.
These were also very, very tasty and this might sound weird but I reckon these were the tastier green beans I’ve ever had. The only thing I’d leave off this dish was the mayo. It was delicious but it didn’t need it.
Course number four was dumplings. Oh dumplings, my good friends.
The dumpling dish was something we were looking particularly forward to. There were two different types: “Pecking duck and bamboo with ponzu sauce” and “Prawn, scallop and chive with Roast chilli and palm sugar syrup”.
Hard to pick a favourite – they were both completely different flavours but they were both so, so good. Maybe I’d pick the duck. Maybe.
We were told that the dumplings are made completely from scratch on site. I appreciate all the effort that would have gone in to making these little morsels of deliciousness. The dipping sauces were so tasty too and complemented the dumplings perfectly.
Finally, we finished off with “Mini beef mignon, wild mushroom salad, Shiraz emulsion sauce”.
Oh my goodness.
This was probably the best piece of steak I’ve ever eaten – so flavoursome and perfectly cooked. Juicy and tender and everything you want in a piece of meat. So neatly wrapped in prosciutto too. And that Shiraz emulsion, my god, I could have eaten spoonfuls of it. I could have spread it on toast. Eaten it on ice cream. It was incredible. I’d go back to the emulsion alone it was that good.
By the time I finished my steak I was well and truly full to the max. I wanted dessert, I so badly wanted dessert. But there was just no room. Probably my biggest life regret to date was turning down dessert.
The dessert options are ridiculous:
-Vanilla bean pannacotta, raspberry compote and ginger tuille
-Duo of chocolate slice, hazelnut biscuit and cream fraiche
-Date and vanilla pudding, salted caramel, cream fraiche
-Orange and Cardamon Brulee with Pistachio biscuit
I doubt I would have been able to narrow it down anyways. How can you pick just one thing off that list?? Oh well, looks like I’ll just have to go back!
All in all this was a really, really good evening. The service was fantastic (everyone was so lovely), the food was delicious and the ambiance was awesome. What more could you ask for in a restaurant?
I love the bar/restaurant combo. I know a lot of places do it, but when you nail it, you nail it. And Wooden Spoon have nailed it. It reminded me of one of my favourite restaurants in the world – Sampan in Philadelphia (I will dream of that place until I die).
They also have a range of function packages, they tell me, so it’d be a great place to keep in mind for an engagement party (no that’s NOT a hint), Christmas or birthday party.
In addition to the dessert I’d love to go back and try the chorizo and potato balls. And relive that Strawberries and Cream cocktail. And possibly every single thing I ate that night.
Would I go again? For sure.