Woodland House

A fine-dining legacy respected... Woodland House.
A fine-dining legacy respected... Woodland House. Photo: Supplied

78 Williams Road Prahran, Victoria 3181

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Permanently Closed

It was a huge ask, exorcising the ghost of Jacques Reymond from his previous restaurant premises while staying true to his exacting spirit, but his former head chefs have done it with aplomb. Thomas Woods and Hayden McFarland have taken a conservative approach as custodians of the Melbourne dining institution, with a gentle makeover of the Victorian mansion and a menu that leans towards Europe while benefitting from the grand Reymond-era wine list. Charry smoked eel with tomato and cucumber jelly, fennel cream and gazpacho kicks off the degustation in elegant style, while fat pekin duck breast with sour cherry notes is enlivened by a fried parcel of confit leg meat; bombe Alaska, richly seamed with butterscotch ice-cream and goat’s curd finishes things in old/new style. Other freshly minted traditions are the mark of a younger generation: snacky curios kick off the meal, including a purple potato crisp and pig’s-head fritters, and an ice-cream cart parked in the courtyard entices guests outside in the warmer months.

And … They’ve kept the tradition of the separate vegetarian menu.

August gastro-temple.
Best bit Fine dining isn’t dead.
Worst bit Lacks the adventure of the Jacques Reymond days.