Old Town has needed a little rejuvenation when it comes to quality restaurants for some time, and Bruce Woods (formerly of Modus) has answered that calling. Woods makes the transition from chef to restauranteur seem effortless as he leaves no detail behind. I’m sure having Anthony Davis (formerly of Sidecar) in the kitchen also puts his mind at ease.
WOODS is located in the former Colborne Lane space. High ceilings, exposed brick and large windows make the space inviting. A white, rippled wall serves as the backdrop to the bar which leads into the dining room with tree-themed banquettes. The focal point, an elaborate green, “branch” chandelier brings life and colour to the space as quiet lounge music plays in the background to allow for gentle conversation.
The menu exemplifies farm-to-table and is a “greatest hits” compilation from both Woods and Davis’ prior stints. Even the water is sourced locally from Caledon, Ontario. Familiar items such as wild Digby scallops served with corned beef cheeks, parsnip purée, maple-mustard vinaigrette + lemon balm showcase Davis’ mastery in the kitchen.
The blank dishes serve as a canvas for the beautifully plated dishes such as the melt-in-your-mouth Québec Foie Gras with purple potato, bacon, + Saskatoon berry compote.
Those looking for a lighter option can seek comforts in the Yellowfin Tuna served atop a bed of crunchy wheat berry + green olive salad, sundried tomato + English pea purée.
Do save some room for dessert as the Raspberry “Macaronnade” is simply luscious. A light and airy Mascarpone mousse is interlaced in raspberry and served with a side of refreshing basil ice cream. Davis definitely has fun in the kitchen as he presents raspberries in various textures (gel + tuille).
The wine list is a refined selection of local and imported pours with amarones, barolos and chardonnays. The beer list is comprised of Canadian microbrews. While this is a tree-themed restaurant you’ll be glad to know that nothing is forbidden, though I believe gluttony is mentioned in Dante’s Inferno – at least I’ll die happy!
*UPDATE APRIL 2014 – Restauraunteur/Owner Bruce Woods has parted ways with the restaurant as has executive chef Anthony Davis*