HOT: Wood Spoon Kitchen, 88 Smith St, Collingwood

I just can’t get enough of Japanese food, and it seems the residents of Smith Street feel the same way.

Across the road from Peko Peko and sandwiched between the excellent Wabi Sabi Salon and yet-to-be-reviewed Tokushima is the cute Wood Spoon Kitchen. I was convinced to eat at this restaurant after the excellent rating given to it by Fat Feminist Foodie.

Wood Spoon Smith St Collingwood Melbourne Hot or Not review

Wood Spoon Smith St Collingwood Melbourne Hot or Not review

The space is not overtly Japanese, with touches accenting the brick walls in the form of framed washi prints and old travel posters. The huge wooden communal tables are very on-trend and lend a casualness to the dining experience.

In her review, Fat Feminist Foodie raved about the agedashi tofu and said ‘If you eat one thing this year, make it this!‘. So, to start, a bowl of lightly fried silken tofu with a dark soy broth ($8.90), which isn’t what I’d normally expect with this dish as in my experience it comes with a light broth and flying bonito flakes. Nevertheless, this version was a very good example of agedashi tofu.

Wood Spoon Smith St Collingwood Melbourne Hot or Not review

We also tried the neat line-up of gyoza ($10.50) which were nothing too special and I found the wrapping a little thick.

Wood Spoon Smith St Collingwood Melbourne Hot or Not review

If you’re hungry, I highly recommend the Onigiri Set which comes with three adorable triangular rice balls of varying flavours, a small bowl of edamame and picked vegetables on the side ($16.50). From the list of ten options I selected Gomoku (Japanese style chicken with 5 vegetables including lotus and beancurd), the Ebi-Salad (prawn with minced onion, Japanese and black pepper) and sweet potato with black sesame and sweet soy, and I’d recommend them in that order.

Wood Spoon Smith St Collingwood Melbourne Hot or Not review

Not realising the groan-worthy sizing of the Onigiri Set, we had also ordered a sukiyaki beef and tofu ($16.90) and a small bowl of rice ($3.20). Wood Spoon Kitchen‘s version of this classic dish was home-cooked deliciousness – lots of tender meat, gently cooked sweet onion slices and cubes of flavoursome tofu, far removed from the bland blocks you buy at the supermarket.

Wood Spoon Smith St Collingwood Melbourne Hot or Not review

The service was a bit scatty on the Friday night that we ate there, but the food was so good and reasonably priced that I would definitely return for more.

Wood Spoon Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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16 thoughts on “HOT: Wood Spoon Kitchen, 88 Smith St, Collingwood

  1. Oh wow, I’ve heard about this place but again, have never managed to drag myself around there. The onigiri look delicious! After being crushed that Kappaya doesn’t do them anymore it’s good to know I can get my fix elsewhere!
    .-= Ashley´s last blog ..Asian Tapas at Pan Asian =-.

    • Hi Ashley

      I actually haven’t been to Kappaya even though it’s close by, and now I will never be able to compare their onigiri with the ones from Wood Spoon Kitchen. Now that I’m moving house Wood Spoon Kitchen is even more dangerously close than before, which means I expect to be eating a lot more onigiri in the future!

      Jetsetting Joyce

    • Hi Miss Gourmet Chick

      You must have been desperate! I remember going to Wagamamas years ago when it was just a single restaurant basement in Soho. Now I wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole given my terrible noodle experiences there. Wood Spoon Kitchen is infinitely better! Fat Feminist Foodie is written by Suzanne, otherwise known as Essjayeff, who I hear does some amazing Momofuku pork buns.

      Jetsetting Joyce

  2. I like Wood Spoon a lot, though not really as a “Japanese” place – I reckon their best stuff is the more non-traditional (which is fine; as you say, between Peko Peko, Wabi Sabi, Shoubu, Tokushima, Cocoro and Kappaya, the area is hardly wanting for Japanese food).

    They do a really delicious okonomiyaki, which – unlike the thick fritter-style you usually get – is done a flat, soft pancake.

    The miso soup is really more of a vegetable soup, full of ingredients, but is also great.

    Especially non-traditional is the pumpkin gnocchi and coconut tomato soup — sooo thick and creamy.

    I barely ever order dumplings anywhere but Peko Peko – their sweet potato gyoza has ruined me for all others!
    .-= Ruth´s last blog ..Bonsoy is back! =-.

    • Hi Ruth

      I didn’t even notice the non-Japanese stuff on the menu and if I had I would definitely have been put off by it. Oh well next time I will try the okonomiyaki, it’s one of my favourite Japanese dishes. Must also go back across the road to Peko Peko to try the gyoza, thanks for the tip.

      Jetsetting Joyce

    • Peko peko, did and probably still do have the best sweet potato gyoza, but they aren’t quite as good at the moment as they were with the previous chef back up until 2008? They were actually terrible a few times last year but the seem to be back on track now. I love Japanese, luckily I
      am 5 mins walk from all mentioned above!

      • I’m pretty sure they’d let you bring in food from elsewhere, but they actually let Peko Peko serve you in the bar – as in, they bring over the bowls and plates as if you were sitting in the restaurant AND come and clean them up afterwards.

        Smart, really: gives Kent St bar snacks without having to run a kitchen, and expands Peko Peko’s number of tables.
        .-= Ruth´s last blog ..Bonsoy is back! =-.

  3. Ooo, I’m glad you enjoyed it – I know it has been pretty hit and miss for everyone but the two times I’ve been it has been great. And that tofu – yum. The bonito is normally my downfall (*sad vego face*) so I love this one.

  4. No_photo_small

    by makka (1 review)
    November 14, 2010
    Just like the other people have made mentioned. We booked for up to 16 people. We confirmed with one of the waiters that we had only 14 people for the banquet and one other to eat separately (just a soup). Waiter, said no problems. Come bill time, they mentioned we have to pay for 16 people. We were like ‘wtf…no, we told you that we had 14 on banquet.’ They agreed for us to pay for 15 and the soup. We tried to come to terms to pay 15 and no soup. Wouldn’t budge. The owner/manager was very rude and even grabbed my friends arm to push him out the door. Harassment I would think. He threatened to call the police, but we knew it was all just BS. It was probably the worst experience in my life at that restaurant. Unbelievable. From what I read below in the reviews, this is not the first time. Whilst we were there, another customer screamed that it was the worst dinning joint ever. I strongly recommend that if you want to receive rude service, retarded management and disregard for customer ethics, please do go. However, to save you the trouble, McDonalds food is much better than the crap they served. An utter waste of time and money. Again, I cannot stress this enough: WORST DINNING PLACE EVER

  5. We had a similar experience, we sent back an item of food because it tasted appalling! when it came to paying the bill we were informed we still had to pay for something we didn’t eat! the Manager grabbed my partner enforcing we pay for it and held us ransom telling us we must pay. We offered to pay for everything but that one item and he said ‘it was our fault for choosing it’ , he also said’ we were cheap’ for not wanting to pay!!! I was disgusted by the manager’s behaviour and would strongly recommend against eating there.
    If you’re up for abuse and bad food go ahead

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