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In every issue of St Kilda Bites, we are proud to feature a special restaurant that produces irresistible & unique food that we would have no hesitation in recommending for a memorable dining experience… Woods of Windsor is our choice for this issue of St Kilda Bites

Woods of Windsor is a secretly elegant slice of the American depression slunk into 21st century Chapel Street, and attention to detail is the name of the game in this well executed restaurant. Taxidermied animals and faded, dated artwork contribute magnificently to the very real sensation that you’ve stumbled upon a 1929 speakeasy. Glamorous low lighting and bills handed over in copies of HG Wells classics (every bibliophile’s dream) thrilled my period drama loving soul, a real sense of old-school Hollywood is evoked through these well chosen props.

My companion and I began with some classic cocktails at the impeccably stocked bar. A focus on whisky is truly evident throughout the cocktail menu, which boasts perfectly matched cigar and whiskey partnerships.

Chef Nick Stanton has created a menu that fuses bold, heavy flavours and meats, with the gentle umami quality of Japanese ingredients: hay smoked Kingfish sashimi with dashi dressing, pickled celery and avruga caviar. The sashimi is of an excellent, pearly quality, with dashi fusing with the pickled celery to provide both a zingy finish and balancing accompaniment to the relatively rich caviar.
The zucchini flowers, stuffed with delectably salty goat’s cheese and fresh beetroot also displayed Stanton’s talents of balancing taste and richness.

Already feeling we may have over indulged a touch, our mains arrived. The hanger steak, with its classic bold and gamey flavours, was expertly cooked. Accompanied by a beautiful medley of cabbage, adorable crumbed bone marrow and oyster blade, it simply melted on the tongue. It was topped with a rich, flavoursome gravy, ensuring the dish was comforting and homely, while retaining a modern edge that provided the kick to remind you that it is, in fact, early 2013.

The Otway Pork two-ways was another testament to the expert precision in the kitchen. A roasted loin and crispy, crackly rib was generously paired with caramelized peach. The sweet, classic peach really brought out the best features of the pork, with its springy texture and naturally sweet flavour. Served with an additional side of sauce, this dish could almost be too much, and so the shallot and choucroute have been expertly selected to offset this sweetness. Despite two very full tummies and sensual overload, there was no way we were going to skip dessert.

With three excellent options, including a peanut butter bar with raspberry sorbet and a chocolate delice with hokey pokey ice cream, choosing dessert was a serious negotiation. We settled on the summer berry pudding: a tumbler of clotted cream, light berry granita and texturally terrific pop rock candy, which was more of a pop rock biscuit. It was a perfect dish to farewell summer; light, fun and showcasing the best of nature’s summer bounty.

Given the success of sibling café; Yellow Bird, owners Dean Bowden and Clint Hyndman could have easily duplicated the atmosphere, menu and bar. Instead they opted for something completely different, alternate to the typically hipster, shabby-chic eateries and bars dotted along Chapel Street. When combined with the talents of Chef Nick Stanton, Woods of Windsor stands tall. It is like a breath of dusty fresh air.

Woods of Windsor

108 Chapel St, Windsor

Ph: (03) 95211900


A collaboration between our two genial female food critics Miss Nibbles and Peckish Pom

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