Neutral Bay is an area scattered with many dining options, but little did I know that the neighbouring suburb of Cremorne also has its own handful of restaurants. Wooden Spoon Bar & Restaurant is located right in the middle of the strip of eateries and is a classy looking place to grab some drinks and dinner in a relaxed environment. Today we are trying the five course degustation which is priced at $56 – not a bad price per course when you work it out!
Since we’re both driving tonight, we start off the night with some fruity mocktails. The passionfruit one has plenty of juice with orange undertones and is very refreshing. The watermelon one surprisingly contains a hint of coconut and it goes well with the sweetness of the watermelon.
After our drinks, the degustation course starts off with some scallops artfully presented in a glass. These are seared to perfection, soft and tender, and has a nice mix of flavours including the salty pork jus and tangy lemon undertone. The pea puree also provides a good textural element to match the scallops.
Next are the zucchini flowers which contain a soft, creamy potato filling. The two sauces on the plate are not what I expected; the vanilla fondue tastes like lemon sauce and has some sour notes, but it surprisingly goes well with the strip of tomato sauce. The disappointing aspect of the dish was the whitebait and lime crisps which are the small pieces carefully placed on top of the zucchini flower, and there is only one per piece.
The dumplings come out next and I can taste the duck meat, but it is lacking the obvious “Peking” style flavours. Surprisingly, I can also taste mushrooms instead of bamboo. For the dumplings, we are served another condiment, chilli and palm sugar syrup, in addition to the listed ponzu suace. I find the chilli and palm sugar syrup much better as the ponzu seemed a bit salty.
Next comes our two meat dishes which are presented on the same wooden board. The pork belly is quite thick and a bit hard to cut through, but thankfully it isn’t overcooked or chewy despite its thickness. The butternut squash served with it is quite tasty and creamy and reminiscent of pumpkin. The beef mignon is cooked well and served with a nice bed of salad. I can’t taste the mustard in the sauce, but the shiraz emulsion is certainly interesting in taste and texture. It reminds me of a pate in mousse form, and is rather rich which stops us from having too much of it. The combination of two heavy meat dishes at the end of the meal left us quite stuffed and it would have easier on our stomachs if they had been spaced out instead of being served together.
Overall, this degustation hits the mark when it comes to value at a great price point. However, I think some of the dishes fall a bit short in terms of flavour. Aside from the starters, the dumplings and meaty mains have a bit of work to go before they get my thumbs up. It’s a lovely place for some casual drinks and nibbles of the starters from the a la carte menu, but for now I think I will pass on the meaty mains.
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Wooden Spoon Bar & Restaurant
Wooden Spoon Bar & Restaurant
Shop 3/362 Military Rd, Cremorne NSW 2090
Phone:(02) 9904 5687