There's certainly no shortage of cafes in St Leonards — both locals and the business people are spoilt for choice when it comes decision time to appease their rumbling stomachs. And one place they shouldn't be overlooking is The Wooden Whisk. Owned by Sean Flanagan, whose CV includes La Buvette in Potts Point and numerous stints in reputable London restaurants, this cafe is dishing up five-star-quality food and service, and you'd be a fool to walk past without stopping.
The place is at once welcoming with a homely, wooden fitout. The staff are neatly attired in beige aprons, and the place holds such a relaxed atmosphere, you might even be tempted to sink into the booth seating post-meal.
Speaking of meals, given that Sean has spent some time in the kitchen, the menu doesn't fail to impress. An array of juices and smoothies are a must-try — like the Kale Crave ($5.90), which is sweetened up with apple, cucumber and mint. The Green Supreme ($5.90) suggestion was also a straw-slurping winner.
Sean's Irish background and how it filters through in this place's menu is enough to make your morning quite the experience. Try the truffle butter with sauteed field mushrooms ($12.50) or the Spanish-style baked beans ($14.50) with chorizo sausage and black pudding. A warm toasted croissant with Nutella ($6) is decidedly wicked, and the breakfast grazing board ($14.50) is a delicious steal with house-made tomato chutney and creamy goats cheese to spruce things up.
The Wooden Whisk's lunch offerings are equally notable. A range of sandwiches ($9) such as an Asian pulled pork or smoked salmon with cabbage and mint slaw, are spiffier than the usual suspects sandwich shops offer. The Ruben ($14.50) comes served with shoestring fries and the balance of mustard, pickled cabbage, pastrami and Swiss cheese is just right.
Salad wise, it's a difficult choice. A smoked chicken salad ($15) with apple and cabbage slaw or a green mix of fennel, zucchini and cucumber with marinated feta ($14.50) are two standouts. Goat's cheese and pear with roast pumpkin ($14.50) or ocean trout with pearl couscous and pesto aioli ($16) could also be your pick.
With restaurant-quality food and cafe prices, The Wooden Whisk is sure to whip this neighbourhood into a food frenzy and we reckon it's time you joined in.