The Woodhouse Bendigo is a pizzeria and steakhouse where everything is cooked, baked, grilled using sustainable redgum wood from Barmah Forest.
Every year The Woodhouse goes through approximately 40 tonnes of wood! No gas is used, which adds a degree of difficulty to the cooking.
We were invited to sample the menu of this award-winning restaurant. There are a large number of pizza options (from $20-$24) and a section is devoted to wood roasted meats and red gum chargrill including wagyu steaks, pork and poussin (From $36-$58). The Woodhouse Beef showcase includes premium Inglewood Dry Aged Beef, Cape Grim Beef, Everything Wagyu from Cohuna and Sher Wagyu from Ballan.
The poussin is popped into the wood oven along with our pizza and emerges juicy and moist. There is some slightly undercooked meat near the bone but that is forgiven considering the difficulty of cooking meat consistently and evenly in a solely wood-fired oven. The roasted veges are a simple and wholesome and the jus from the bird is the perfect accompaniment – no need for fancy sauces to camouflage or overwhelm the flavours when you’re presented with good quality produce.
Pizzas are large and easily shared between two people. The base is bready and firm rather than elastic and pliable and comes with plentiful toppings, rather than the less-is-more style of Neapolitan style pizza.
The kids menu is $16 for a choice of pizza, a waygu burger slider or porterhouse minute steak and a chocolate ice cream sundae for dessert. The ham and cheese pizzas are eagerly devoured by the kids, with plates licked clean. I’m surprised that they can still fit in dessert, a huge plate consisting of three scoops of vanilla ice cream, chocolate fudge sauce, mini waffle cones and honeycomb.
T and I shared the dessert plate for two people ($32) which could easily have fed three or four people instead – there are at five different desserts in the platter and three of them contain a large scoop of ice cream!
My favourite are the creamy vanilla cheesecake topped with floating Persian fairy floss and the decadent chococlate brownie with peanut ‘moss’ and banana ice cream.
Other family-friendly features include pram access, high chairs and colouring-in on the back of the kids menu. The staff are friendly and welcoming of kids and they open for dinner at 5:30pm, early enough for kiddie dinner hour.
The Woodhouse is very popular with locals so I recommend booking at all times. The dining room fits over 100 people so if you’re visiting with kids it’s best to go in non-peak periods.
- pram access;
- high chairs;
- children’s menu;
- standard menu suitable for kids;
- free on street parking;
- walking distance to Discovery Science Centre.