A writer sharing travels, experiences, a love of festivals & events. Life is a journey and I hope to inspire others. Visit my blog at https://www.travelwithirenke.blogspot.com
Published November 20th 2017
Classified as a restaurant, coffee shop and dessert shop on their Facebook page, The Woods Pantry is a refreshing space in The Woods Centre complex of leisure businesses in Villawood. Barely open a year, it has an industrial chic look and is as spick and span and spotlessly clean as if it only opened a week ago.
Upon arrival, one notices a friendly and inviting scene with diners sitting outside enjoying their meals, relaxing and chatting over a coffee or juice. Inside is equally inviting with ferns in pots hanging over mosaic table-topped benches and stools in front of the espresso bar. Surrounding brickwork and tiles complement the picture in this naturally lit space.
It's also large and spacious and as you venture further in you find an area of tables and chairs as well as comfy padded lounge seats and quirky artwork on the wall which blends in well with the overall look and feel of the establishment.
The menu offers breakfast, brunch and lunch 7 days a week and is best described as Modern Australian cuisine with Middle Eastern influences. Hanny, the owner, brings his Lebanese heritage into each creation to turn homely dishes into must-try dishes.
Breakfast includes Acai bowls, buttermilk pancakes with coffee mascarpone and peanut crunch, toasted sandwiches, French toast adorned with fruit and pistachios, smoked salmon on potato rosti, eggs cooked a variety of ways and a breakfast Mezza which includes eggs cooked in olive oil, Lebanese beef sausages, mild beef sujuk, potato hash brown, halloumi, grilled mushrooms, labneh, cucumbers, olives, tomatoes and soft flatbread to fill those hungry bellies. Prices range from $6-$24.
A friend and I arrived for lunch, which also has a menu of plentiful options to choose from. Salads include Toasted Cauliflower with pearl cous cous, spinach, toasted almonds, apricots, raisins and cumin with a pomegranate dressing and Roasted Pumpkin with goat's cheese, cherry tomatoes, spinach and a Tahini dressing. Heavier meals include a Moroccan lamb sandwich with a host of accompaniments, steak and chips, and burgers. Prices on this menu are $14-$29.
My dining companion chose the Classic Cheeseburger ($15.50). The Black Angus beef with its Swiss cheese, caramelised onions, dill pickles and house-made sauce on a soft milk bun was very tasty and juicy.
I went with the Sweet Chicken Stack ($19) served with chips, grilled chicken, sweet potato, eggplant, grilled halloumi and a mixed lettuce salad with balsamic glaze. It was also tasty and cooked well.
You can also get sides of bruschetta, spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce and salt & pepper squid with aioli sauce. Vegetarians are catered for and both vegan and gluten-free options are available as well. Children are also welcome and looked after with a kids menu full of favourites, such as cheese toast and chicken nuggets.
For a drink-cum-dessert, I chose a chocolate milkshake with a house-made chocolate doughnut on top covered in caramel popcorn, chocolate swirls and crushed chocolate biscuit pieces. Decadent it was, to say the least. The doughnut was huge, very fresh inside and satisfied my sweet tooth. My friend went healthier with a refreshing watermelon juice.
The Woods Pantry also do protein shakes and smoothies whilst the Espresso Bar serves up Campos coffee, chocolate frappes, mocha and T2 teas, along with baked pastries.
Conveniently located within walking distance of Villawood train station and with wonderful decor and food, it's a great place for friends and family alike to enjoy. It's also right next to some great activities that include AMF Bowling, Laser Skirmish, Indoor Rock Climbing and the Jump Swim School. A win-win.