A combination of classic and Middle Eastern flavours
Nestled behind Bunnings in Villawood and AMF Strike Bowling, this gem of a place has a unique character of its own. The Woods Pantry in Villawood (near Chester Hill) is on Woodville Road however not easily spotted from the street.
Heaps of parking in the complex makes it easy for patrons to find parking spots, both on weekdays and weekends. We found ourselves a nice sunny morning to visit The Woods Pantry. On first look the cafe had a nice vibe, somewhat industrial look with high ceilings, however, spurts of colour do grab your attention and in my case, it was high tables with the blue mosaic tabletop with low hanging green features that stood out. They've got both indoor and outdoor seating and the seating is quite spread out giving everyone ample space.
We were accompanied by our fur friend Sparky, so we choose the outdoor dog-friendly seating. There was a buzz of activity in the cafe being the weekend. Although Lina, the owner and our hostess had us promptly seated, I couldn't help but notice the busy Saturday morning liveliness in the kitchen and at the barista that was busy churning out Campos coffees. There were plenty of takeaway customers queuing to order coffee and takeaway breakfast as well.
The Barista at Woods Pantry Photo Credit: Rahul Guru
Once we got settled we started with the drinks. There's smoothies and fresh juice options for the warm day and Campos coffee for coffee lovers. I settled for a fresh juice with apple, orange and watermelon while the rest of the table settled for coffees. The coffees were fairly standard however the fresh juice was great for its quantity and made a good choice for the slightly warm day that it was.
The menu has breakfast and lunch options however they are both available all day and that's a big tick from me. The menu has some middle eastern influence as well which you will notice with the use of labneh, dukkah and pomegranate. Perhaps the most popular dish that was ordered that morning was the Mezza plate. We saw that most tables had one of the large wooden boards a.k.a the Mezza and we were curious to find out more about it. When the Mezza plate arrived, it did look like a rather large meal. It had beef sausages, beef sujuk, mushrooms, olives, halloumi, hash brown, labneh, eggs cooked to choice accompanied by Lebanese flatbread. While it was a platter full of food, if I could have added something I would recommend a sauce to tie it in together (I'm thinking some hummus or garlic aioli) and a touch of sweetness on the platter would have been a nice addition too, maybe a mini buttermilk pancake.
Breakfast Mezza at Woods Pantry Photo Credit : Rahul Guru
My absolute fave for the morning was the buttermilk pancakes with coffee mascarpone and peanut crunch. These 3 fluffy pancakes at $16 were a winner all the way. The coffee mascarpone and maple syrup on the side complemented each other beautifully and was a group favourite.
From the lunch menu, the grilled chicken burger looked enticing and didn't disappoint at all. At $15.5, the burger with hot chips was another crowd pleaser. Even our fur friend Sparky looked like he would have gladly eaten it!
Grilled Chicken Burger at The Woods Pantry Photo Credit: Rahul Guru
Aussie staple cafe item, the smashed avo made it to the table as well. The avocado was topped with some tabouli, dukkah and pomegranate and gave it that Middle Eastern touch. Our friend who ordered the acai bowl gave it a big thumbs up too. I was eyeing the falafel pita but had no way to justify over-eating so I decided to leave it out for next time. I later noticed that the falafel pita had great reviews on social media so I do hope my next time is not far away.
Smahed Avo with Poached Eggs Photo Credit Rahul Guru
After about 90 minutes of coffee, juice, breakfast and laughter we were all nodding to each other with the seal of approval for The Woods Pantry. This is definitely one of the reliable cafes in the area that maintains high standards of food and they constantly refresh their menu for the season ahead. So if you haven't been there for a while, it's a great time to head over and check out the new menu. The staff are friendly and take a genuine interest in helping you navigate the menu and hearing your feedback post meal.
Acai bowl at Woods Pantry Photo Credit : Rahul Guru
Being a popular cafe in the area, you could expect a bit of a wait for your food. The takeaway queue can also slow down the food for the seated patrons. So make sure you have some time at hand before you visit, especially if it a busy morning. Check out their instagram page for some inspiration.