There’s a lot of bars in Windsor, but there’s only one Woods. Nowhere else around here has genuine charm factor—that laid back, leather club chair vibe that looks like it’s been time-warped straight out of the 1930s.
If you actually care about your malts and your cocktails, this is probably your best bet on Chapel St. It’s also, just quietly, a killer first date venue. Nothing says fancy like smooth jazz and taxidermy.
The Woods Of Windsor hasn’t changed much over the years, but there are new owners, and a new-look menu. We swung by a couple of weeks ago and had a nibble of pretty much everything. The grilled cheese sanger with sauerkraut and smoked mozzarella is a definite highlight, and the team can even pimp it up with your choice of cured meat (pro tip: go for Barbara Marshall’s famous duck salami).
The crispy fried chicken is also one of the best in the South (even better when you know the batter is entirely gluten-free). The chef clearly has a weakness for rosemary— you’ll find it sprouting up all over the menu. In other news, rosemary plus scotch turns out to be a surprisingly good combo.
Last tip: save room for dessert. The guys are dishing up a roast white chocolate mouse that blew our minds. Pair it up with a snifter of the Balvenie Caribbean cask—those fruity, pineapple-y notes work so damn well with the smoky white choc.
Speaking of whisky, there’s literally dozens and dozens of rare bottles behind the bar, divided into tasting notes: ‘Gentle Drams’, ‘Peaty and Smoky’, ‘Sherry Casks’ etc etc. Usually the best bet is to trust the lovely bar staff—just tell them your preference and they’ll sniff out an interesting malt.
Woods didn’t necessarily need sharpening up—it’s always been one of our Chapel St favourites—but it’s nice to see the old girl getting some extra love. The new booze, fried chicken and live jazz are all Windsor to the core. Exactly what we’re looking for on a drizzly Melbourne evening.
Image credit: James Rostron