Georgina Campbell Review: Ambitious, innovative and exciting, Woodruff sparks joy from the moment you set foot inside

Georgina Campbell
Ambitious, innovative and exciting, Woodruff sparks joy from the moment you set foot inside. In the centre of Stepaside Village, this first solo venture by rising star chef Simon Williams and manager Colm Maguire may be a modest looking premises from the outside, but the diminutive facade deceives. The Scandi-style decor, all blonde wood and clever carpentry, sets the tone of simplicity and sophistication that defines everything about the Woodruff experience.
Front of house, Colm Maguire brings an easy charm to the dining room, his attentive and laid back service a perfect match for the smart casual vibes. The music, a cool track list of 80’s indie classics, from Bowie to Pixies and The The, suits the mood and food beautifully.
Maguire has a keen interest in wine and Woodruff’s wine list is excellent and eclectic. Offering an original and well priced selection of varietals and vineyards, an additional drinks list offers gems like Killahora Rare Apple Ice Wine and exciting non-alcoholic choices.
“The kitchen is run with style and dedication by Simon Williams, a chef who brings skill, precision and flair to wonderful Irish ingredients. His menu changes weekly (daily in normal times) and riffs off local, seasonal and wild ingredients. Williams works with the finest small Irish producers and farmers, treating their wares with serious respect.”
Everything is made in-house, from the excellent breads, butter and creme fraiche to the vinegars and kimchi, the latter elevating a simple snack of salt cod fish-cakes to an unforgettable plate of fiery goodness. The roll call of top suppliers includes Toonsbridge cheese, Beechlawn Farm organic vegetables, Goatsbridge trout, Achill Mountain lamb, Mooncoin beetroot, Higgins dry aged beef, Thornhill Duck, Velvet Cloud and Kelly’s shellfish.