Reworked: Woodworks is back

by Kate Richards / 25 October, 2016
Avondale cafe Woodworks had been open for just eight months when an electrical fire gutted the building. In the 18 months that have elapsed since, owners Jess Brewer and Matthieu Gosset (formerly of Petit Bocal) have been witnesses to great change: new additions to the neighbourhood – notably the arrival of Rosebank Kitchen and Café – and new additions to the family with the birth of baby Saskia. And, slowly, they’ve rebuilt the café.

Gosset looked elated when we met, as if nothing could grind him down following the struggles he’d endured since the fire. A solid financial resolution, after almost two years of back and forth with insurance companies, will do that to a person.

Gosset spent months planning the original cafe fit out, which transformed an old carpentry and furniture store into a sophis eatery. Remarkably, stepping into the café now, it’s as if nothing has changed. White-washed timber, the big shabby chic ‘Woodworks’ sign on the left hand wall and, impressively, the original tables, which somehow managed to withstand the heat of the fire, remain, despite being made of wood.

Head chef Julien Albe (previously of Meadow and The Tasting Shed) has cast his French hand gently over the menu, making slight tweaks to modernise and refine the food. But fear not, loyal patrons, old favourites like spicy scrambled eggs with bacon and breakfast bruschetta remain. There’s still Supreme coffee. Hopefully those crumpets will be back, too.

So what has changed at Woodworks? Well, there’ll be no more dinner service, at least not for the time being. 18 months is a long time away from work and the couple decided during their break that evenings spent in each other’s company are more important to them than evenings waiting tables. That being said, Gosset slyly hinted at a series of pop-ups. The who, what and when’s of these events are still under wraps while the couple finalise details, but the glimmer in Matt’s eye had me excited.

You’ll have to wait a while for all of that, but it won’t be long until the doors of the cafe open again for breakfast and the crowds descend. Woodworks is back from the ashes, and Avondale is smiling.<

1790 Great North Rd

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