With more and more fine dining chefs making the jump to café-style establishments, with mixed successes, it’s worth heading back to those who were the first to make the switch. Emma Woods, previously of Rockpool, Billy Kwong and Rick Stein’s The Seafood Restaurant in Cornwall, Britain, opened The Woods Café and Deli in Earlwood, and for the past seven and a half years has built a local offering that defies fads and focuses on what the locals want.
When first opened, The Woods had little in the way of competition, with the only other local offerings including chain cafes and fast food joints. The choice to open in this community on the border between Inner West and South Western Sydney was never purely commercial, as it was where Woods had grown up.
Then, as now, the focus was on offering decent food and coffee with an eye to quality ingredients. However, as Earlwood has changed and more cafes have begun to open up, The Woods has risen to the occasion, with monthly dinners on Saturday evenings. Here is where Wood can show off the flair that she had earlier perfected, with a refined menu of five starters, five mains and five desserts. Those interested are advised to book ahead, as these dinners regularly sell out.
For offerings by day, The Woods does inventive takes on breakfast and lunch classics, including a dukkah fried eggs which is plated vibrantly with beetroot hummus, pomegranate and marinated peppers. The focus on quality is apparent here, particularly with the house-made dukkah.
Coffee is from Coffee & Co. Roasters and is dosed out from the sleek San Marco Café Racer. Locals here know their coffee, and the Coffee & Co. offering is a full bodied espresso that has customers coming back multiple times in a day.
As the menu is updated seasonally, and with spring fruits ripening up, blood orange beverages are making an appearance for a citrus punch.
For a meal that locals love but is worth travelling for, make a stop at The Woods.
160 William St, Earlwood
Mon – Fri, 6am – 4pm
Sat & Sun, 8pm – 4pm