Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Review: The Woods Cafe & Deli

160 William St

Mon-Fri: 7am - 6pm
Sat-Sun: 8am - 4pm

How exciting!! A new cafe opening up in Earlwood owned and run by Emma Woods, a former Rockpool Chef and recipient of the Josephine Pignolet Best Young Chef Award. From our experience of cafes opened up by accomplished chefs (eg. Sebastian Tyson of Bar Mattino) you can be pretty sure you will receive simpler food, but done really well. It is with this is mind that we organise a spot of Sunday brekki with C1 & C2 following an eventful week.

The Woods is located slightly away from the hub bub of Earlwood's main shopping area, but this does ensure that there is plenty of parking available. When we arrive it is pretty clear that this new addition has already snared itself quite a few local followers, meaning that scoring a table is not a fait accompli. Fortunately we arrived just as some were leaving so after a quick wipe down, we were seated and keen to see what the menu had to offer.

Initially, to be honest, we are a little underwhelmed by the breakfast options. There are a few 'different' offerings such as Woodsie's Baked Eggs with giant white beans, braised eggplant, peppers and oregano, but on the whole the usual suspects are all present and accounted for: omelettes, eggs on toast with sides, pancakes etc etc.... We are not deterred however... we are sure that whatever we order is going to be very good!

Remove the three sides and what you have is a $10.50 plate of eggs and a piece of toast!

We are a hungy bunch so order up big! Squeak goes for the scrambled eggs on sourdough with sides of bacon, mushrooms and a hash brown while C2 does the same but with spinach and a bit of feta instead of the hashbrown. When these dishes arrive, on the whole they are looking good - especially the mushrooms which look buttery and delicious! We are immensely disappointed with the look of the hash brown which straight away looks suspiciously like the frozen variety you can buy at the supermarket.

This is not good, especially as the menu does attest that all food is homemade. If these hash browns are homemade (for an excellent housemade hash brown check out Baffi & Mo), they have gone to an awful lot of effort to make them look like the frozen ones. The bacon is not cooked to Squeak's preference  - which is really crispy. The main gripe here, though, is that $3 was charged for one rasher. In fact all the sides are $3 each - including the suspect hash brown. Hmm... our expectations are slowly being deflated.

I decide to order the Avocado, Tomato and Goats Feta on Turkish toast with a side of chipolatas and a hash brown. Well, my breakfast arrives on two tiny plates, rather than just giving me everything on one large plate (which seemed a little silly to me). Anyway the colours look inviting so I launch in. There isn't a lot you can do to ruin delicious tomatoes, rich goat's feta and creamy avocado, but I'm afraid they have.  Ruin may be too harsh a word, and maybe it is just me, but I wouldn't heavily butter toast if avocado is to be placed on top of it.  This breakfast did, and I am not keen on the combination. On top of that, I also have the hash brown, which (even if it is not a home made one) I still expect to be crispy on the outside with a fluffy potato interior. Unfortunately this hasn't been handled too well. The hash browns absorbed all of the oil and the fluffy interior has turned to a fairly solid oily mass. I cannot eat it.  The chipolatas, though, are tasty!

C1 orders the Banana Pancakes with Palm Sugar syrup and Vanilla Ice Cream. This is quite a generous serve  of pancakes that M1 feels are a bit too dense and they are topped with fresh banana. The syrup and ice cream come served on the side - which is always a good idea. C1 likes the dish but does wish the pancakes were lighter and fluffier.

The coffees are good though and service is very friendly and accommodating.

So, this may well be a case of our expectations being too high, but given the calibre of the chef involved, we really did feel that these expectations were well founded. Unfortunately, we left feeling very disappointed.

The Woods Cafe & Deli on Urbanspoon


Dumpling Girl said...

How disappointing, I would of expected more from Emma Roberts too. It's a shame the place didn't deliver, you're right the hash brown doesn't look too homemade :(

john@heneedsfood said...

Hmmm, that's a hash from a frozen packet if I've ever seen one. Doubt I'll be schlepping all the way to Earlwood for an average looking brekkie like that