The Woodford review: Glamorous restaurant on site of Funkymojoe gives nod to Winston Churchill
- Credit: The Woodford
It’s been the subject of controversy since plans were first revealed in October last year.
But The Woodford restaurant is now up and running on the site of former nightclub Funkymojoe, and the Recorder was invited along to the high-end eatery in High Road, South Woodford.
On entering the grand grade II listed townhouse, we were greeted with a bustling open kitchen on the left, and a glamorous bar stretching along the right.
We were taken through to the main restaurant which is furnished with chic booths, which allow privacy but are also spacious.
It’s clear there has been a big refurbishment, but without appearing to be too try-hard, with a relaxing balance of smart upholstery and quirky industrial copper-wire lighting.
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The restaurant is the latest acquisition by entrepreneur Steve Andrews, who owns the Blue Group and the Grey Group.
After the chain applied for its alcohol licence, there were some fears it would be a restaurant-cum-nightclub, potentially attracting the troubles associated with its predecessor Funkymojoe.
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But with former Young National Chef of the Year Ben Murphy on board, it’s clear The Woodford means business as a leading restaurant.
To start I had mackerel escabeche (poached) with charred cucumber and ricotta (£12) and my dining partner had lobster with lobster mayonnaise, peach, fennel and vin jaune (£17).
Both were delicious. The mackerel was light, fresh and subtle, with the creamy texture of the ricotta and the fruity dressing making it almost more sweet that savoury.
For the main course, I had lamb (braised, confit and roasted) with aubergine and peanuts (£27). This was a surprisingly generous portion of meat, beautifully presented, and while my personal taste would have preferred it slightly rare, the crushed-peanut crust was a delicious addition.
My partner had Dingley Dell pork cooked three ways, with Granny Smith apple, turnip and Calvados (£26).
For dessert we both had the intriguingly named textures of chocolate, which was a small selection of different desserts accompanied by milk sorbet.
This was my highlight and I particularly enjoyed the delicate lavender-infused sponge.
Perhaps the jewel in The Woodford’s crown is the Churchill bar, a champagne, cocktail and oyster bar aptly named after the former Woodford Green MP.
Adorned with portraits of the famous PM – who certainly enjoyed a drink – and boasting a grand piano, the upstairs’ ambience is fun and lively, and gives a nod to the history of the area.
With its close proximity to the rest of the city via the Central line, and easy access from Hertfordshire, Essex and Kent, The Woodford will no doubt be inundated with fine-dining enthusiasts from all over.
But its friendly staff and focus on quality makes it a real treat on the doorstep for locals.
Hopefully the former White Hart Pub will once again serve the community rather than causing problems for its neighbours.