Shelter in the woods: Be still my heart

Shelter in the woods is every bit a restaurant I would choose for any occasion. It's straight up heart-warming classics highlighted by the culinary dexterity of Chef Masashi. Finally, a press release that tells it as it is, "The result is a cuisine of rare depth and purity. Ingredients and seasoning achieve a distinct presence and discreetness... The food literally blooms" ~ and truly, dining here is a treat for the senses. Not only is the service flawless, but so is the food. Stepping into Shelter in the woods is akin to walking into a time portal where time literally stands still as you tuck into your fare, wide eyed stares and all.

Sunday brunch offers a plethora of choices.  The Shelter Eggs Benedict ($22) comes highly recommended by yours truly; the use of Japanese farm eggs elevating the experience, not to mention the crispy smoked sticks of bacon stacked like firewood to contain the out pour of homemade hollandaise and orange yolk.

Bread choices are extraordinary at Shelter in the Woods, and the Croque Madame ($20) exemplifies that point with toasted pain de mie, crusty brown on the outside while still retaining a bit of its chewy interior. The golden pillow holding a piping hot deluge of bechamel sauce, smoked ham, tomato and gruyere. Grilled cheese sandwich gone rogue, this is presented with a sunny side egg on the top for that additional WOW factor.

Reminiscent of a chicken pot pie, the Vol au vent chicken mushroom ($24) is presented with a deft hand, delicate and perfect for a rainy day, silvers of pan fried chicken and mushroom nuggets simmered in a cream sauce sit in and around a towering golden castle of puff pastry. Lardons and pearl onions thrown in for good measure.

It is easy to forget the beauty of potatoes until you've had the Oven Baked Chorizo Eggs ($22); soft creamy baby potato halves roasted till crisp edged, are powered by thin slices of chorizo sausage and its magnificant aromatic oil, making for a great meal especially with the two beautiful sunny side Japanese farm eggs plopped on top.

Continuing in the same ode to Chorizo is the Chorizo Clam Spaghetti ($26) served with white wine sauce. My latest fixation with pasta is well fed here with this well executed  rendition; perfect touch of seasoning, the smokiness of the chorizo complimenting the fresh clams.

Sundays call for roasts and the Shelter Sunday Roast Beef ($38) lives up to its name with a massive hunk of Nebraska black angus grain fed ribeye topped with gravy. The Yorkshire pudding disappointed slightly with its stodgy innards and lack of risen hollowed out sides. I expected more, however, carnivores would rejoice in this offering, the showstopper slice of protein stealing the limelight with its pink innards like a blushing bridge.

If you have a sweet tooth, it might be a good idea to check out the desserts whilst you're there. The Vanilla creme brulee ($9.50) arrives in shallow dish with a blistered coating of caramelised sugar over the top. The custard, flecked with a generous amount of vanilla beans was smooth and fragrant - I would have preferred it in a deeper dish for that added temperature contrast between torched sugar roof and cold set custard on the bottom, but that's just a personal preference.

Sounded extremely textbook like, the Shelter French Toast ($17.50) and the Warm fluffy pancake stack ($16) are impeccably put together. With egg pan fried french brioche, cheese grilled, berry compote and vanilla ice cream, the former is a feast for the eyes and the stomach. The pancakes are exemplary, tangy with notes of buttermilk and screamingly fluffy innards, these are so delicious that I would gamely deny my ''never pay for pancakes rule'' with this rendition.

Shelter in the Wood's Sunday brunch is served between 11 30am - 2 30pm. Space is cozy tight with limited seating, so do be sure to make your reservatins to avoid disappointment.

Shelter in the Woods
22 Greenwood Avenue
t: 64666225

Operating Hours:
Mon- Sat: 6 30pm - 10pm
Sun: 11 30am - 2 30pm; (brunch) 6 30pm - 10pm

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