The Woodford (CLOSED)
Time Out says
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An upmarket eatery for the well-to-do of E18 to splash their cash.
Please note, this venue is now closed. Time Out Eating & Drinking editors, Feb 2017.
To say that South Woodford isn’t known for fine dining is a bit unnecessary, since South Woodford isn’t particularly known for anything. For those who haven’t ventured out to this corner of Zone 4: it’s a well-heeled east London enclave on the fringes of Essex, and now home to this high-class newcomer.
The Woodford has set up shop in a building that used to be a nightclub, one popular with the ‘TOWIE’ crowd by all accounts. To enter, you go through a signless black door, then through a black curtain. The interior is low-lit, the decor plush and the vibe one of moneyed exclusivity.
The cooking, meanwhile is of the Anglo-French, lord-of-the-manor variety: lots of red meat, lots of game, all dressed up to the nines (the menu has more gels and mousses than the haircare aisle at Boots). Scallops made for an excellent starter, with a celeriac-and-coconut velouté that held a decadent little bundle of flavours. It tasted like the surroundings looked: no bad thing.
Mains were just as intricate. Venison was cooked to pink-centred perfection, and finished with a crescent of deep, deliciously bitter chocolate jus. Monkfish was served with a similar flourish of sauce. It was all very pretty – but whether it amounted to more than the sum of its parts is another question, especially when the sum in question is 26 quid.
That’s the thing about The Woodford: cheap it ain’t. And less than a month after opening, it’s trying just a little too hard to wear its class on its sleeve. The food was clearly very high-quality, and expertly stage-managed by Ben Murphy’s kitchen. But portions felt wilfully small, marooned on plates the size of hubcaps. Surely no restaurant wants its diners making a detour into Costcutter for a snack on the way home? But the service was swift and lovely. The staff brought canapés with our drinks, and made a point of recommending dessert. This was a faultlessly set soufflé, served alongside a passionfruit sorbet. Its special touch? An infusion of sambuca. Perhaps they have the old nightclub crowd in mind after all.