Restaurants

Found: Melbourne’s Most Approachable Fine Dining

By Iro Kotsimbos - 27 Jun 2014


To degust is to taste; to try a new flavour before moving on to the next. So, considering we have an obsession with trying new things at The Urban List, it comes as no surprise that we're big fans of tasting menus and degustation in Melbourne.

Wait, wait, wait, we know what you're thinking – "Degustations cost a fortune!" While there's no doubt degustation dining can be on the pricier side (but my oh my, are they worth it!), we're about to let you in on a little secret. That's right, we've found a restaurant that we can only describe as stellar fine dining…and you won't need to re-mortgage the house for it!

Enter Woodland House.

Housed in an ornate Victorian mansion on Williams Road in Prahran, Woodland House is the culinary collaboration of young Melbourne chefs Thomas Woods and Hayden McFarland. Having met when they both worked under the legendary Jacques Reymond (who formerly occupied the historic space), Woods and McFarland have combined their youthful energy with a passion for quality produce to create a truly unique fine dining experience – one that in our humble opinion, qualifies Woodland House as one of Melbourne's best new restaurants.

While the menu is constantly changing depending on what's available and in season, the attention to detail and innovative flavour combinations are one of a kind. Woodland House also champions the use of locally sourced, seasonal and sustainably grown produce and when restaurants put this much effort in, you know they're going to come up with the goods!

A ONE OF A KIND EXPERIENCE

When we said Woodland House offered a stellar fine dining experience, we meant it. The atmosphere is luxurious, yet relaxed. The staff are attentive and knowledgeable, yet completely approachable (and they're only too happy to accommodate whatever booking requests you may have – that's right, they take bookings…because really, who wants to stand outside waiting for god-knows-how-long for a table?!). And the food…ohhhh the food! 

From set tasting menus (choose from either five or eight courses), to a sensational à la carte (pick either four, five or six rounds – available Tuesday to Thursday only), you'll be truly spoilt for choice. So what can you expect to find on the menu? Some current highlights include Spanish mackerel with burnt dashi, lotus root and shiitake sound, and Western Plains suckling pig with watercress and elderberry, not to mention the delectable Bombe Alaska with seawater caramel and goats curd for dessert. Wondering whether to leave the car at home? That's not even a question in our books when there's wine matching on offer. TAXI!

To make it all the more tempting, the priciest tasting menu option at Woodland House is a very reasonable $235 – this includes the matched wines! Does this make it the best degustation in Melbourne? Well, we think that the flavours, produce and price tag mean it is puh-retty darn close!

Vegos aren't forgotten either, with Woodland House offering vegetarian tasting menus that include dishes like smoked cauliflower with tofu, pickled salsify and watercress emulsion, and butternut pumpkin confit with celeriac and Meredith sheep's yogurt. Tempting options whether you're vegetarian or not!

BRINGING BACK THE LONG LUNCH

We're all for a nice long lunch at The Urban List and it seems Woodland House are too!

Their lunch menu, available on Thursdays and Fridays only, gives you the choice of four to seven courses (ranging between $60 to $100) and includes spectacular dishes like tomato and sweet peppers with buffalo mozzarella and aged balsamic, Flinders Island wallaby, palm heart and candied cumquat, and mocha soufflé with light and dark chocolate pave. (Hot tip – go for the extra farmhouse cheeses, too!) 

And what's a long lunch if you don't have a glass (or two…) of vino? Woodland House's wine list is the perfect accompaniment to their lunch offerings (and dinner for that matter!) and features some of Australia's best local wines, along with some impressive international drops. We'll definitely cheers to that!

So whether it's mid-week fine dining or a relaxed long lunch, a big celebration or something more intimate, Woodland House is the perfect 'tick-all-the-boxes' kind of restaurant with just the right amount of fuss. Call 03 9525 2178 to make a booking, and get ready for one heck of an experience

Image Credit: Ryan Noreiks, The Urban List.

TUL Note: Today's List Love post is proudly sponsored by Woodland House and endorsed by The Urban List. Our sponsored posts will never be a secret. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible.

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