We left Woodlot smelling of smokey campfire ashes. It stayed on my clothes for days and it’d be a lie if I said that I didn’t enjoying breathing in that smell for as long as it lasted. …Will my dream of one day owning a wood stove oven come true?
Woodlot was rustic and straightforward food, though somewhat underwhelming and lacking at times (too simple, Leo says), with excellent service and a cozy atmosphere. Our waitress that night was very accommodating and didn’t seem at all bothered by our nitpicky questions and the various false panics over a walnut allergy that kept recurring throughout. (Long story short: we failed at reading the menu numerous times.) Everything was executed so perfectly, but the dishes we picked that night felt too light in flavour and depth to give you that sense of hearty satisfaction from finishing a really damn good meal. Nonetheless, I’d still go back again, because, and this will be a shocker to some, the vegetables were so good that I have to try the all vegetarian menu.
We started with a Halloumi Crostini topped with a preserved apple spread, spiced chickpeas and shredded basil. The halloumi had the texture of a very dense tofu and for being a goat cheese hybrid it had a surprisingly mild taste – and smell. We didn’t really care for the cheese though, my favourite is still the creamy burrata, and found that the apple preserve with the chickpeas, a perfect combination of savoury and sweet, was the definite highlight. Plus, you can never go wrong with basil.
For our second course, we chose to share the Buckwheat Tagliatelle with duck gizzards. The pasta was very good, light and chewy, but unforgivably salty. Thankfully, the side of grilled brussels sprouts with bacon was a saving grace that made the pasta more palatable. At this point, we had finished our cocktails (one bourbon based with honey wine and the other tequila with rosemary) and ordered two glasses of wine; this turned out to be the best decision of my life so far. We chose the 2010 Chateau de Lascaux rosé, a pale peach and pinkish wine with a very crisp and tart after note, and the 2010 Chateau la Carnorgue rosé, more ember than pink in the restaurant light with a very smooth finish.
Before ordering our mains, we gingerly glanced at the vegetarian menu before deciding to hell with it and each proceeded to get the most meat we’ve ever had in one sitting. Leo went with the Grilled Sweatbreads with Pork Belly Bacon, a very smokey and fatty thing with bits and things all on a skewer (if you’re like me and don’t know what sweatbreads are, give it a chance, don’t let the description scare you! It’s a good way to be introduced to offal cuisine), while I got the Whey-fed Pork Pork Chops with treviso, simple as simple can get but executed perfectly and once again I couldn’t get over how good the vegetables were. I only managed to finish two of my pork chops and regretfully asked for it to go, since I had my eye set on desserts for the night.
The Japanese Cheesecake with caramelized apples and topped with some thinly sliced radishes was…different. It wasn’t the best cake I’ve ever had and I found the caramel too bitter. Unlike North American cheesecakes, this one was fluffy and spongy and less sweet.