he husband and wife team behind Bar H, head chef Hamish Ingham and front of house Rebecca Lines, are helming the kitchen at The Woods, the newly opened restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel. The surprisingly expansive space – unsurprisingly crafted from numerous species of timber, considering the name – follows on from Ingham’s partnership with the hotel at GRAIN bar, where he provided a mod-Oz/Asian bar menu. For The Woods, it’s a more structured, sit-down affair.
The interior, by designer Michael McCann, is a timber lover’s dream. There’s an open kitchen and, to the left, a grand wood-fired oven and grill. One wall features an indoor vertical herb garden, while industrious kitchen staff slice homemade sourdough and Ingham-churned butter on a butcher’s block in front of the fire. Off to the side of the main room is a semi-private dining room with trinkets adorning the walls – all in an effort to convince diners that this isn’t a stuffy hotel restaurant. We think they’ve nailed it.
The menu is more traditional than Ingham’s inventive offerings at Bar H and GRAIN, maybe as a response too the more structured, fine dining surrounds. The gravitas starts with a choice of five oyster varieties, from the salty Rusty Wire to the sweet Moonlight Kisses. Starters such as live baked scallops with a citrus glaze and organic sugar snaps with anchovies prove simple, tasty and balanced.
For mains, dishes such as quail with grilled peach and chickpeas, or spatchcock with pine nuts and lemon zest are subtle twists on the standards. The latter has been smoked atop apple wood timber which imparts a subtle sweetness. Ingham’s modern pan-Asian style comes through in the garlic and pepper berry crab – the standout on the menu and many cuts above what you'll find down in Chinatown.
If you don’t wish to splash out for the full meal, there’s also a dimly lit bar with a smaller menu. The Woods appropriately has many branches, among which there are many wonders to be found.
The Woods at The Four Seasons Hotel
199 George Street, Sydney
(02) 9250 3100