When Wood & Coal first opened a few weeks ago, A and I were in the Canberra Centre and were immediately drawn to the establishment by the enticing aroma of spit-roasted meat. Unfortunately, we had just finished lunch elsewhere but we had both proclaimed that we needed to try it ASAP.
Our time to try it came on a Friday night a few weeks back. We arrived without a booking but luckily we were seated straight away at a communal table. We were told that otherwise, a wait for a table of two would be an hour and we would only be seated outside. Canberra’s weather still wasn’t too appealing for night-time outdoor seating, so A and I opted quickly for the communal table inside.
The menu at Wood & Coal is focused on what they deem “the art of the spit-roast”. Spit-roasted meat is popular in many cultures, but A and I felt there was a definite nod to Greek/Cypriot cuisine. I was impressed to see that Wood & Coal state that they only use the best produce, and their menu still encompasses a lot of different dishes.
On the menu, there are a selection of small plates available, with options including pork rillettes, milk buns, chicken wings and hiramasa kingfish sashimi. Even though these dishes sounded extremely appetising, we decided to stick with a mezze-style dinner of meat and an assortment of sides to pick at.
A and I ordered the spit-roasted pig with creamed honey and maple sauce ($48), house-made pita ($5), brussels sprouts, green goddess dressing and almonds ($15), snake beans with chilli, garlic, tom shrimp and hazelnut ($10) as well as chips with feta and oregano oil ($10). It was sure to be a feast.
After a half hour wait, our first dish to arrive was the spit-roasted pig with creamed honey and maple sauce. A and I were quick to start on this dish, hoping that our sides would arrive shortly after. Unfortunately, our sides were spaced out quite largely, which wasn’t particularly pleasing. The spit-roasted pig, however, was delicious and A and I were frequently exclaiming how good it tasted throughout the dish – with the creamy honey and maple sauce being the perfect accompaniment to the pig. We also thought that the serving size was generous for two.
The brussels sprouts, green goddess dressing and almonds arrived next. This was one of the favourites of the evening, as the Brussel sprouts were lightly scorched and the addition of almonds was a winning combination.
At this point, there was another long wait for the other two sides to arrive. When A asked our waitress if we could have them relatively soon, we were told that they were just being plated now. Unfortunately, it took another 20 minutes for them to arrive at the table, which was slightly frustrating as we decided to wait mid-meal for our sides to be paired with the meat, which by that stage was cold.
However, we were a little more forgiving once they arrived at the table and we had our first bite. The snake beans with chilli, garlic, tom shrimp and hazelnut was fantastic – but very garlicky. It’s a good thing that A and I love garlic, as there was a healthy portion of it within this dish. However, the flavour combination of the garlic, tom shrimp and chilli was mind-blowingly good, especially seeing as though the beans were perfectly cooked so they still held their texture.
At the end of our meal, we were satiated and very impressed with the quality of food. Our waitress during the evening was lovely, and sorted out quickly the issue of flat sparkling wine arriving at the table. The issue of the spacing of the food comes down to Wood & Coal being a newly opened eatery – there’s teething issues which I really hope they are able to sort out soon. However, the quality of the food will definitely make A and I return again soon.
On a side note – If you don’t like meat from the spit, there are a variety of large plates available. I’ll be making a special trip for lunch to try their souvas (house-made pita bread, onion, fresh tomato and chips with your choice of meat ($17)).
Highly recommended (and a new favourite of mine!).