After 27-years working the burners of his eponymously named fine diner in Prahran, Jacques Reymond packed up his whites at the end of last year and turned the manor house over to his chefs Thomas Woods and Hayden McFarland, who reopened the restaurant last week as Woodland House.
If you’re expecting this to be another case of fine dining going casual, think again. “The building is a grand old Victorian mansion – you can’t casualise a location like this.” McFarland tells us. “It lends itself to high-end dining and that’s what I’m passionate about, and what Tom’s passionate about. We’re also trying to shun the trend for going casual in general.”
“We made a very conscious decision to not remove our connection to the Jacques Reymond business,” says McFarland. “We just wanted to update the iconic parts – the chairs and the orange room in the front where Reymond was always photographed. We wanted it to be ours.”
Food-wise, you’re looking at a similar technique-driven menu to the Reymond of Old (both chefs worked in the restaurant) with a bit more of classic European bent. “Jacques was very Asian inspired – he tried to run away from the traditions of Europe his whole career,” says McFarland. “Tom and I both still love that Asian profile, but we’re trying to take it back in that European direction.”
To that end, expect the likes of salt-crusted beetroot with blackberries, and duck and cherries, put through their fine dining paces.
We'll be heading in once systems are sorted, but if you simply can't wait, they're ready and willing whenever you are.