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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Be sure to check out Wooden Spoon for your next get together with Friends.
Hotly Spiced dined as a guest of Wooden Spoon.
3/362 Military Road, Cremorne NSW 2090
Phone: (02) 9904 5687