Wooden Spoon, Cremorne

In the weeks leading up to the Oscar’s, Carl and I made an effort to see as many of the nominated films as possible.  As Tuesday is known as ‘Cheap Tuesday’ because movie tickets are discounted (not by much), that is the night we would meet at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace to see great films like The Intouchables, The Life of Pi, Argo and Les Miserable.

Sometimes we would get to the cinema early (just a little keen to be out of the house) and we’d wander Cremorne looking for a place for a drink.  Just a few years ago there really wasn’t anywhere to have a drink unless you wanted to go to the less than ordinary pub with large TV screens set permanently on the sports, rows of poker machines and the smell of stale beer wafting from the multi-coloured swirling carpet.

But things in Cremorne have been changing for the better and there are now a few great places to sit down and relax ahead of a movie.  Opening less than a year ago is Wooden Spoon  that is conveniently located at Cremorne Junction and situated right next to the cinema complex.  If you’re going to the movies and would like a drink at  Wooden Spoon, they offer a 10% discount.

The entrance on Military Road, Cremorne Junction

The entrance on Military Road, Cremorne Junction

Wooden Spoon is owned by Livia Wang who runs the front of house, and her business partner, Noel Phear who is the chef.  Livia is originally from Taiwan and Noel is half French and half Kiwi.  When Livia and Noel took over the existing restaurant they applied for a liquor license and redesigned the interior so there is a wine bar in the front and the restaurant section is at the rear.  The restaurant is separated from the bar by the kitchen that is surrounded by glass walls so you can see exactly what’s going on.  The lighting is flattering for anyone wanting to turn back the hands of time, without being so dark you can’t read the menus.

I love the old barrel

I love the old barrel

The wine bar is intimate and cosy and you can sit on sofas like you’re walking into Central Perk in Friends or sit up at the bar like you’re part of the set of Cheers.  Carl and I sat on the sofas, Friends-style and Carl ordered a Sapporo that is on-tap and I thought I’d have a cocktail.  Livia suggested I try the Passionata that is rum muddled with fresh orange, passionfruit and lemon juice.  If you don’t like a sweet or creamy cocktail, this is the one for you but I tend to prefer my cocktails made with sparkling wine rather than laced with rum.

Sapporo beer on tap - $8.50

Sapporo beer on tap – $8.50

Passionata Cocktail.  Rum with passionfruit, orange and lemon juice.  $15.00

Passionata Cocktail. Rum with passionfruit, orange and lemon juice. $15.00

Once a month Wooden Spoon organises cocktail tasting nights where you can sample 10 cocktails for $15.00.  The next cocktail night is Thursday, March 7 and Carl and I might go – if we can get another leave pass on the domestic front.  Bookings are essential.

Having been there for a drink, a few weeks later Carl and I were fortunate to be invited to a five-course degustation dinner that costs $56 or $99 with matching wines.

The first course is pan seared scallops.  The scallop was melt-in-the mouth and went beautifully with the pea puree.

Pan seared scallops, ox tail sausage, pea and lemon puree, apple and pork jus

Pan seared scallops, ox tail sausage, pea and lemon puree, apple and pork jus

I had part of a Cremorne Platter with shaved serrano ham with poached pears and blue cheese.  I loved the balance of flavours in this dish between the salty and the sweet.

Cremorne Platter - Shaved Serrano ham, poached pears and blue cheese

Cremorne Platter – Shaved Serrano ham, poached pears and blue cheese

Next we had stuffed zucchini flowers.  These had such a beautiful flavour and were crisp and crunchy on the outside with a smooth and tasty filling on the inside.

Zucchini flowers with salt cod and potato brandade, tomato and vanilla fondue whitebait and lime crisps.

Zucchini flowers with salt cod and potato brandade

The peking duck wontons were amazing.  We were given two each but I could easily have eaten a few more of these especially with the ponzu sauce that lifted them to another dimension.  These can be ordered from the bar if you’re just coming in for a drink but not dining in the restaurant.

Peking duck and bamboo dumplings with ponzu sauce.

Peking duck and bamboo dumplings with ponzu sauce.

The last two dishes on the degustation menu were brought out together on a board.  I’m sure you all know by now that I just love pork belly and this pork belly was full of flavour with very tender pork and a crispy crackle on the top.  And the apple salad that accompanied the pork absolutely cut through the richness of the pork.  I could easily have eaten a larger portion of this dish.   I loved the beef wrapped in prosciutto.  The prosciutto added the saltiness for the beef and then the emulsion sauce gave a lovely smoothness.  I could have ordered a larger portion of this dish as well.

Confit pork belly, butternut squash and toasted cmin puree, pickled leek and apple salad.  Mini beef mignon, green lentil and speck ragout, shiraz and mustard emulsion sauce.

Confit pork belly, butternut squash and toasted cmin puree, pickled leek and apple salad. Mini beef mignon, green lentil and speck ragout, shiraz and mustard emulsion sauce.

Desserts are available but after our five courses plus a few cocktail samples we were more than full and so didn’t order any.  But Carl and I have decided that after the next movie we’ll go back to Wooden Spoon to sample a few of the desserts.

If you are in Cremorne or heading to a movie at the Orpheum I can highly recommend Wooden Spoon for its convenient location, beautiful interior, comprehensive wine list and well priced menu (you can have 12 dumplings for $26).  The wine list is interesting and showcases wines from here to Europe and there’s an extensive cocktail menu that’s forever evolving.

Stay Classy San Diego - Sparkling wine with a touch of vodka, elderflower and mint.

Stay Classy San Diego – Sparkling wine with a touch of vodka, elderflower and mint.

Be sure to check out Wooden Spoon for your next get together with Friends.

Hotly Spiced dined as a guest of Wooden Spoon.

Wooden Spoon

3/362 Military Road, Cremorne NSW 2090
Phone: (02) 9904 5687

 

 

Comments

  1. ah how far distance for me… Seems so beautiful, so beautiful… Thank you dear Charlie, love, nia

  2. Sounds like a fantastic place Charlie. How nice to have such a place so close to theories theatre. They don’t allow smoking in bars anymore do they? In Toronto, you can smoke on an outdoor patio if its not covered on three sides; it’s really horrible if you want to sit outside and eat and the smokers are smoking.
    We haven’t seen any of these movies, but we probably will in the meat future. I’m not much for crey or sweet cocktails either, so I usually just get a glass of wine or a Guinness I’m the winter (although if we’re having a meal I find Guinness is too filling).

  3. Sounds like a fabulous place. It’s nice to find a place that has the right vibes…atmosphere, good food, decor etc. my husband and I found a place last week that we really like in Boulder.
    So, did you manage to see any of the Oscar movies? We didn’t, have to play catch up now.

    Nazneen

  4. These dishes look delicious – as does the nice cold Sapporo! It’s one of my favorites. :)

  5. When I see and read about the foods that you eat, I realize how much I am missing in the culinary world. Such interesting foods and combinations.

  6. What a delightfully sumptuous meal!!!!! Happy to see the Peking duck dumplings were steamed and not fried. The presentation of the Passionata Cocktail is sooooo cool.

  7. You make an ordinary movie night just lovely! We often grab a small bite or drinks before we go to a movie, too, just elevating the entire experience into an even more relaxing “event” rather than just a movie–which can often be almost as enjoyable from home. I love the presentations of the dishes, particularly the course served on the board. I love places like this and don’t get out to enjoy them nearly as often as I’d like! :-)

  8. How lovely to have such a grand dining establishment so close to a movie house. That doesn’t happen around here much. All the food looks terrific and I probably would have fallen asleep in a theater after eating such a meal! :) We’ve only seen Argo so far, but can’t wait to see Life of Pi.

  9. Oops, I thought the scallop was ice cream at first! Gorgeous gorgeous plating going on here. And well done with the movies! I barely seen any movies these days…

  10. What an awesome place to visit my friend, it seems to have everything – food, atmosphere :D

    Cheers
    CCU

  11. When I saw this post was called Wooden Spoon, I thought it must be more about your swim day last weekend! Sorry for that assumption :)
    I love a degustation meal- you get to try so many delicious morsels and the best from the kitchen. The scallop looked lovely indeed, and I’m a HUGE fan of pork belly, so I would certainly be going back for seconds on that dish indeed!

  12. It sounds like a lovely place to dine! Thanks for the lovely & tasty tour too!

  13. We have a few special cinemas also, where great eateries have sprung up nearby.

  14. I love that your cocktail came with a little passionfruit on the side that you could add yourself. Oh how the simple things entertain me! What did you think of all the movies? I really liked Argo. Definitely deserving of its accolades.

  15. Whoa, your meal sounds divine! Maybe someday we’ll hop over to your side of the globe…fingers crossed we can swing it one day. Sooooo, which movie was your favorite? Katie really wants to see Les Mis, but the DVD will be available soon…so we may catch it at home :)

  16. We haven’t been to the movies for ages, I was reminded whilst talking to my mum this morning, who went alone yesterday, and now again. Maybe it’s a sign that we should go soon! The food looks mouth watering! What a bagin for those dumplings.

  17. I want a Stay Classy San Diego! Sounds like a wonderful spot. Wish it was closer.

  18. 10 samples for $15 sounds like a deal and quite a buzz! Meanwhile, I see some goodies as Serrano ham, poached pears, & zucchini flowers that get my attention! Meanwhile, I’m hoping to be back in the routine saddle next week.

  19. Such a cool spot but $15 for a cocktail? Well it does look like a really amazing cocktail, the presentation alone is worth the money haha

  20. That all looked super delicious but I’m not sure about this new trend of serving food on wooden boards. I think Jamie Oliver started it. There is nowhere for the juices to run except off onto the tablecloth. I guess I had better get with it.

  21. I suppose licking the juice off the wooden board wouldn’t go down too well really. I’ve spotted this place but never got there yet. That’s because I am generally screeching into the cinema there just in the nick of time. It can be hard to escape the madding crowds chez nous.

    But I am tonight, hooray, hooray, off to Love Supreme in Paddo which I’ve never heard of, which says nothing about a restaurant really… there are FAR too many I haven’t heard of.

    Thanks for the scoop on this one. There used to be a great veggie cafe across the road from the Orpheum but don’t get me started on the reminiscing. Son number two was conceived just down the hill in Spencer Road and nobody really wants to hear that story!!

  22. Now that’s the way to enjoy movie night, Charlie! I, too, prefer having a drink, at least, either before or after watching a film. I find the movie more enjoyable, or so it seems. I don’t know if they’ve spread Down Under yet but here that are a few movie houses that will serve you dinner or cocktails at your seats. And those seats range in comfort level. Some are recliners, for example. They’re relatively new and I’ve yet to try one. I hate to judge without having gone but I think I much prefer my dinner at a restaurant and my movies at a theatre. Call me old fashioned but I doubt whether the Michelin people will be frequenting any of them in the near future. ;)

  23. It was a great night with fab company. So glad to have joined you. Love your shots of all that fabulous food, which was truly delicious.
    Carolyn

  24. What gorgeous food – I’m glad you got to experience it as an honoured guest :)

  25. Oh lovely a date night and lots of food and drinks. The food looks good Ill keep this one on my dance card

  26. Those dumplings sound delicious indeed! And a good find especially for those wanting somewhere before or after a movie! :D

  27. THAT’S what you call stopping for a pre-movie drink? What’s about all that gorgeous food? :)

    We took the f-i-l to Les Miserables and got him those fancy headphones so he wouldn’t say, “What did he say? You know I have a great version in French, you should borrow it” at a voice level loud enough for him to hear and for the folks in the next building to hear too.”

    Finally, just seeing the words wooden spoon remind me of my son at 2 1/2. When I got to 3 (you remember, ‘hurry up 1 – 2 – 3 BAM) I’d take out the wooden spoon and bang it on the bench. One day I couldn’t find it and I said, “Alan, where’s mummy’s wooden spoon.”

    “fankin foon gone”

    He’d buried it in the sandbox.

    Thanks for bringing back a laugh

  28. That passionfruit cocktail looks to die for! And I love the presentation of the food. Sounds like a beautiful date night :)

  29. Nice pics, if I’m ever in Australia, I’ll be sure to stop by!! ;) I have always wanted to go there, btw!!! It’s kind of on my bucket list!!! :)

  30. I’m a sucker for scallops, so the scallop in a glass looked fine to me!

  31. Oh I loved the look of the degustation meal!!! Everything looked so delicious! I am not a fan of large creamy cocktails, something light and fruity would be the way to go :)

  32. What a charming little place! We need more of those around my part of town. Would love to go with the husband sometime :)

  33. What a romantic little place :) Sounds like it was one fun Tuesday :)

  34. I wish our movie nights had begun or ended with the Wooden Spoon. What a lovely place! All those platters looked so very appetizing. Thank you for sharing with us!

  35. Wow, nice looking restaurant. I’ll definitely be sure to remember it if I’m ever in the area… which will probably be never, lol… so sad :( Still though – it does look really good! I’ve never seen Sapporo beer on tap before. How cool is that?!

  36. I can’t share this post with Liz, because she’ll want to hop on the next flight to down under. With the exception of the drink prices this is our kind of place. Any American wines on that list there? :-)

  37. Cute place to visit before visiting a movie! Sounds like you guys got to see a bunch of great films too!

  38. The restuarant looks great, like the look of the passionfruit drink.

  39. Those shooters look SO good! Im also a sucker for zucchini flowers :)

  40. i like the sound of cocktail sampling!

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