The Woods, Sydney CBD

There is something about The Woods that makes me think of the Teddy Bears Picnic song.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, I've gone to the effort of youtubing it for you here: link

When I walk into the restaurant, it even feels like The Woods.  Dark, mysterious and with a big fire burning steadily away in the open kitchen.  I guess it also helped that it had been storming outside so walking into this warm sanctuary gave me a small thrill of delight.

I made a booking online (may I just add here, how convenient online booking is....I love it! No busy tones, no waiting while the person on the other end scrounges around for available times...) and we failed dismally by being half an hour late.  I admitted to the hostess that yes, the delay had been due in part to the rain outside (that was completely false) but more so due to the new bar next door - Grain Bar.  She laughed and found our original booking, luckily there were still a few tables empty and I had a nice view of the kitchen from my seat.

The Woods is inside the Four Seasons hotel and you enter it straight from the lobby. Once you're inside the sectioned off area, it doesn't feel like you are in the middle of the ground lobby. It feels warm and cosy with a low-level hum of noise.

We started off with some wine and drinks while the waitress described the menu to us.  Upon announcing that the cut of lamb for the day was the rump, she gave a small tap to her own rump in demonstration which I found very amusing.  Teehee.

'Steve's seasonal oysters' are listed at the top of the menu and we ordered two each of the Clair de Lune and Moonlight Kisses.

Oysters ($4.50 each)

 By the way, who is Steve?  I don't know but the oysters were gooood. Very sweet in flavour.

Wood grilled calamari, pork cheek bacon and pickled muntries ($24)

I loved how soft the calamari was and the subtle flavour of the grill that was imprinted along the thin slices.  I didn't taste the pork cheek bacon on the plate though...where was the pork cheek bacon - am I missing it here? In hindsight as I look at this photo, I don't actually see any pork cheek bacon on the plate.....nevertheless, this was my favourite dish of the night.

Ash seasoned ocean trout, smoked trout roe and parsley salad ($21)

I couldn't taste much of the ash seasoning in the ocean trout but the fish was glistening and very fresh.  I loved these soft, pillowy little brioches - we also had them at Grain Bar, incidentally also with roe and there was brioche in our dessert too.  The parsley side on the plate was very, very salty. 

We had a bit more trouble deciding what to get for the main.  I found the entree options to be more exciting and in the end, settled for fish.

Crisp skin wild fish fillet, spanner crab, cauliflower and roast garlic ($36)

The fish was cooked well but the taste was incredibly bland with no distinguishable flavour.  The best thing on my plate was the cauliflower which had been roasted nicely. 

Olive wood roasted lamb, grilled carrots, chickpeas, purslane and tahini yoghurt ($38)

Let me preface my next sentence by saying that I didn't mind, because my stomach was satisfied with my fish, but there was a huge size discrepancy between the lamb and the fish.  The lamb looked like a giant feast at least twice the size of the fish main - it included two huge chunks of meat, each about the size of an adult fist and a variety of large items on the plate.

I am not a huge fan of lamb, often the game-y ness of it doesn't suit my palate.  I tasted a bit off my friends plate but had more interest in the vegetables. Most of the lamb was left on the plate, my friend couldn't finish it off.

There was only one item on the dessert menu which really leaped out on the page to both my friend and I.  We decided to share this dessert after I had provided assurances to my friend, who had claimed to be very full during mains, that I was sure I would be able to polish it off.

Rose geranium ice cream, toasted brioche and white peach caramel ($14)

As it turns out, we both polished off the dessert in record time.  After we licked our spoons clean, we looked at each other in surprise at how fast it was consumed.  Everything about the dessert was perfect - the ice cream had a lovely taste of rose, not the sickeningly overpowering rose that you might find elsewhere.  The caramel had a slight bitter, burnt taste to it that was a nice counterpart to the sweetness of the ice cream and the slice of ripe peach.  And underneath, another one of those delightfully soft brioches. This dessert really blew me away!

I would definitely be happy to come back to The Woods again. The service was very attentive with our water being refilled conscientiously throughout the night.  The staff seemed very competent with the only slight being our oysters coming out after our entrees - a first world problem and I would not even have noticed but for the waitress coming back after taking our order to specially advise us that she had requested for the oysters to come first, strange!

There are a lot of other items on the menu that I would like to try and you would not need to twist my arm to order that dessert again!

The Woods on Urbanspoon


We have been writing about food in Sydney since 2009. No place is too far or too wide for us to travel to visit. We always give an honest opinion and love to hear your comments too. Here's to an ever-growing society of foodies!


  1. This post is making me salivate... And it's Steve Feletti's oysters - aren't they great?!

  2. Hi Tina: Thanks for the heads up, they were really yummy!