The Woodsman – Stratford-upon-Avon

The Woodsman – the man of wood, woody. Sometimes erections are referred to as ‘wood’ aren’t they? ‘The Erectionman’ – probably wouldn’t work as the name for a restaurant, the soft launch would be confusing and they’d never get your mum out of there.

ANYWAY, I was looking for something to do for our first wedding anniversary and had a look at tickets for the RSC and dinner at Salt.

However, the only Billy Shakespo play they had was King John. What the fuck even is that?! I ended up looking at other things to do in Stratford though and somehow came across The Woodsman restaurant. William Sitwell and Giles Coren have reviewed it, so it simply must be worth my time. A play and Salt postponed, I booked.

The Woodsman was recently listed in the Good Food Guide Awards 2020 as the ‘Best New Entry’ (maybe The Erectionman would have worked after all) and it showed, it was rammed!!!!!!! INNUENDO FUN!

Meaty affair

To start, a drinks trolley was wheeled in our general direction and a lovely Scottish woman explained what was on offer. I had a perfectly decent Negroni, as I am nothing if not horribly predictable.

We were then shown the big, sexy chunks of beef on offer. I asked to see the methane output from each of the cows the cuts came from.

“WWGD?” I shouted.

“Eh?” Replied the waitress.

“What Would Greta Do?”

“Oh, I’m not sure.”

“In that case we will share the Roe deer shoulder for two. As everyone knows deers don’t fart.”

Before the deer main, I had hare ragu, with pappardelle, parmesan and autumn truffle to start.

The pasta was perfect, the sauce was decent but a bit watery and lacking in depth, although very nice when mopped up with the remaining bit of focaccia that I haven’t bothered telling you about (7/10).

The slow cooked, glazed shoulder of roe deer was delicious. It came with sides of a charred, wedge of hispi cabbage – very nice, celeriac – very nice and dirty mash – nice (8.5/10).

I think I didn’t put ‘very’ next to nice for the mash as I’d built it up in my mind to be something earth shattering and it wasn’t. Plus, can we all stop describing food as ‘dirty’.

“Your house is dirty.”

“Oh, thank you.”

“Now let me eat your dirty house.”

Dirty isn’t a good thing. It’s Christina Aguilera’s fault I suppose for that song she wrote about the time she put some chilli con carne on a burger.

Desserts, I had a treacle tart which was good (7/10) my wife had a peach melba soufflé that if the noises she was making was anything to go by was a strong (9/10).

We also had a pretty crap bottle of Chianti Classico, I wish places would put the wine lists on their websites so I could stop making such foolish, costly errors.

As the place got busier the service definitely dropped off. We sat with our finished dessert plates for about 15 minutes until we asked for the bill and for them to be taken. Also, it would have been nice if the bloke who took the bill payment had made some minor small talk as to whether we’d enjoyed the meal, or maybe said thank you after my money had been taken…

This has inspired me to write a blog about good service in restaurants. You’re all going to hate it, think I’m a twat and tell me I’m wrong. Something for us all to look forward to.

Oh, and if for some reason you’re wondering what we’re doing for our first wedding anniversary it’s Ynyshir, which I am more than a little bit bloody excited about.

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