Woodlot exudes this charming in-the-alps feel as you step up to the door (minus the alps). It didn’t hurt that despite the winter’s day, the sun was shining, a warm breeze was blowing, and a piercing blue sky was the backdrop. Most times when I visit a restaurant, it is under the night sky. Woodlot, however, offers baked goods throughout the day (closing briefly in the late afternoon) as well as a full-service dinner. So of course, I made both a bakery and a restaurant visit.
Copious amounts of light streaming into an open kitchen, a high ceiling, and a wood-burning oven, are what greeted me on my first visit. It would be hard to pick a more ideal afternoon to make a leisurely stop for afternoon treats.
Despite having just eaten lunch at Porchetaa & Co down the street, I was with a friend and didn’t have to limit myself to a singular item. My companion chose the scone, which had a nice crumbly exterior and a moist interior. With citrius notes and tangy blueberry fruit, this was a nice treat. I selected the apple galette with a mountain of fruit in beautifully deep orange and red hues. Caramelized in its sugars, the apples gained a rich and complex molasses-like flavour. The pastry is negligible – it’s the fruit that makes this so good. I’m told they serve this dish at dinner time (though they call it a tatin on the dessert menu) sided with a honey gelato.
Some days later, I made it to dinner. A late reservation at 9:30pm was all they had left, which was fine by me.
Things began with a baked caramelized onion soup with Gruyère and caraway rye. Found this okay – not bad, but nothing outstading either. I felt the large raft of bread too big and unwieldy.
I enjoyed the oxtail and ox tongue terrine with pistachio, port, and fig compote. These were mouthfuls of chunky and meaty, sweet and salty, peppered with crunchy pistachio. A perfect portion for two. It was a tasty starter.
One of the mains was a chop of whey-fed pork with caramelized apples (reminiscent of the apples on the galette), black walnuts, and sage. I found this a well-prepared and decent dish with a charming presentation. Loved those apples. We sided it with a bone marrow mash, but I found the mash better the next day, with the marrow coming through more strongly.
The braised duck cabbage rolls with wild rice, chestnuts, and prunes, had a strong orange/citrus flavour to it that I enjoyed. I have heard others enjoy it much less than I did. Again, lots of textures with the crunch of cabbage, the chew of wile rice, and the sweet from the fruit.
It’s hard to go wrong with fresh pasta. Farm-fresh egg tagliatelle with fontina cheese, speck, and radicchio was our last dish and it was quite decent. Creamy and rich, the speck (a juniper-flavoured ham) added bursts of salt and herb, and a generous amount of mushrooms, thinly sliced, added body to the sauce. I feel that the pasta, while strong, had a high bar to meet after recent meals at Campagnolo and Enoteca Sociale.
If you’re thinking of hitting up Woodlot in the near future, definitely make your reservation a week or two ahead if you want to visit on a Friday or Saturday night. It was still ridiculously busy when I sat down for my late dinner and the room didn’t clear out and quiet down until the very end. I’ll want to go back to see the other dishes they have on offer. At least, once all the excitement dies down and obtaining a table becomes trivial.