Wooden Spoon Bar and Restaurant

3/362-366 Military Road, Cremorne, NSW

All Details
  • 02 9904 5687
  • $$
Small wonder: Wooden Spoon Bar and Restaurant offers tasty snacks and top wine.
Small wonder: Wooden Spoon Bar and Restaurant offers tasty snacks and top wine. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Rachel Olding

If you can bear the dog-eat-dog parking situation, Military Road in Cremorne is quite the place to be these days.

Against all the urban planning odds, the busy strip has turned into a haven for drinkers with half-a-dozen great bars dotting the road, including Honey Rider, Vinobravo, the Mayor, and Wooden Spoon Bar and Restaurant.

The latter has a prime position next to the Orpheum cinema and has opened with a breath of light, fresh ambience and upmarket decor.

Good Food. Bar review at Wooden Spoon in Cremorne. Hazelnut Mojito. Photo: Edwina Pickles. 1st March 2013.
Classy: Hazelnut Mojito. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Low-key restaurateur Livia Wang, previously the owner of Pain de Sucre in Glebe and Capriccio in Bondi, moved to Cremorne in search of a more loyal, suburban following and has opened a place with a sleek black restaurant at the back and a bar at the front looking like something straight out of the pages of Vogue Living.

Timber shelves carry cute pot plants and candles, a long bar is dotted with metal bar stools, and a mix of perfectly placed low-lying couches, tall bar tables and rustic wood benches house a smattering of Mosman types.

This places looks slick, and a read of the menu offers up fancy dishes such as confit spatchcock, and orange and cardamom brulee. The cocktails are also classy things, such as Vesper Martini, Blackberry Mule and Hazelnut Mojito. In reality, though, the food and drink didn't quite hit the sophisticated level I'd expected.

The cocktails just missed the mark on flavour and skill and the food, while lovely, was akin to a good pub or cafe.

A Hemingway Daiquiri (Bacardi rum, Maraschino liqueur, grapefruit, sugar syrup, lime juice, $16) was excellently chilled but very bland. Ditto The Hendrick's (gin and Cointreau orange liqueur, fresh mint, cucumber, apple and lemon juices, $16).

Bar snacks are tasty things such as potato and chorizo balls with red pepper chutney ($15) and polenta fingers with gorgonzola dip ($12). Both were good to pick at but didn't go very far. We shared zucchini flowers with salt cod and potato brandade, tomato and vanilla fondue, whitebait and lime crisps ($26), and salt-and-pepper calamari with chipotle and lime emulsion sauce and Asian spiced coleslaw ($26) for something more substantial. Again, both were lovely but hardly worth shouting about from the rooftops of Military Road.

The wine list offers more promise, with a lovely 2012 Argon Bay cabernet merlot ($8) that is smoother than a baby's bottom.

The merlot was one example of a decent list of Australian and NZ drops. The waitress generously offered a taste of the merlot but was a little clueless about the menu.

I'm guessing she also didn't realise that another waitress was serving our table too, because we had a visit from one or the other about every three minutes.

Attentive, yes. Borderline annoying, yes.

There is plenty here for a nice drink and bite before or after a movie, but with so many good options popping up on Military Road, Wooden Spoon has some stiff competition.

YOU'LL LOVE IT IF … you want a glass of wine and a nibble before a movie.

YOU'LL HATE IT IF … you're expecting much more than that.

GO FOR … potato and chorizo balls, Argon Bay merlot.

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3/362-366 Military Road, Cremorne, NSW

  • 02 9904 5687
  • Prices - wine by the glass $7-$13.50, cocktails $15-$17, nibbles $9-$23
  • Features - Bar, Licensed
  • Owners - Livia Wang
  • Opening Hours - Tue-Fri, 5pm-late; Sat, noon-late
  • Author - Rachel Olding
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3 comments so far

  • Spot on review - it echoes my sentiments about this place. It had a great menu, so went in with high expectations - I was a bit underwhelmed with the food, and especially for the price.

    Commenter
    spot_on
    Location
    Date and time
    April 05, 2013, 3:14PM
  • My wife and I went to The Woodspoon two weeks ago, and thought initially it was quite an appealing and pleasing place aesthetically. However the longer we stayed the more displeasing the surroundings and the unprofessional staff became. The wait staffs were so overly attentive, that we were asked more than a few times if we had made a booking and if we would like another drink, we had only been in the place for 15 minutes at this stage and both had healthily full glasses. Hint to wait staff look before asking and being annoying to your patrons.

    Next we adjourned to our Booked table at the back of the establishment, which appeared to be a light open, and airy environment. However unbeknown to us, we were sat under a Gymnasium, the noise from the Gym itself did nothing to enhance our dining experience, on top of which there are sweaty bodied Males and Females traipsing up and down the stairs to get to their place of exercise throughout. In summary we will not be going back and not recommending the Woodenspoon, to anyone as a place to dine or drink. BTW the food was just OK and nothing to write home about.

    Regards Soulie.

    Commenter
    Soulie
    Location
    Cremorne
    Date and time
    April 07, 2013, 9:17AM
  • Came here recently with my girlfriend, and although the food wasn't bad - - like the other reviews said, the service is terribly lacking. Upon walking in we were greeted twice, which was no big deal, but it was a little irritating to be asked two times in one minute by two different people if we had a booking, and how many of us there were. After sitting at the bar and being served an above-average cocktail each by a charming young bartender, we decided to sit down at our table 20 minutes later. After clearly stating we were there for dinner and would be having a cocktail first, we were asked if we were ready to pay our bill and leave at this point! After making it clear again that there were two of us for dinner we were seated. For entree' we ordered the scallops, which were perfectly cooked and presented. For our mains I ordered the duck and pork dumplings, absolutely delicious. My girlfriend had the pan polenta crusted whiting which was well cooked but not as delicious as the dumplings. We skipped dessert. When it came time to collect our bill bad service again kicked in; after having our table cleared and requesting the bill we waited for 20 minutes while the lady serving us stood nearby with a vacant expression on her face. Also the two glasses of 'house' red that we ordered were 12 dollars each! I have a sneaking suspicion that we had been victims of involuntary upselling!
    When we left we were told to have a good night by a second bar tender, who addressed us as 'Sir' and 'Ma'am'....a bit unnecessary considering we are both in our mid 20's! Overall nice food, great cocktails, but patchy, clueless service!

    Commenter
    Cwalden76
    Location
    Date and time
    April 23, 2013, 3:07AM

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