At The Bar with Untitled Richmond’s Executive Chef Matt Woodhouse

Untitled Richmond’s Executive Chef Matt Woodhouse steers the European-inspired menu at this chic restaurant a stone’s throw from the MCG.

He talks to The Write Drop about moving to Melbourne from the UK – and where he loves to drink and dine here and abroad.

Untitled Richmond is a contemporary two-storey restaurant and bar, designed by Flack Studios [they did Troye Sivan’s epic Carlton home] and comes filled with contemporary art. Its sister bar, The Ugly Duckling is worth visiting more than once for the cocktails.

My City

I grew up in the UK and left 10 years ago, exploring Sydney and Auckland before landing in Melbourne, which has been my home for the last seven years. Melbourne is an incredible city – the culture, music, art and parks… and most importantly, the food. Having travelled extensively, Melbourne is one of the best cities in the world for dining out, whether it be fine dining or cheap eats, Melbourne has it all.. and coupled with a fantastic hospitality industry where there’s a great camaraderie between restaurants and chefs.

Favourite Food Memory

I can’t look past Melbourne’s Embla. It’s my go-to.  I love their open kitchen with a wood fire oven, it’s inspiring to sit at the counter and watch the chefs in action in the kitchen. The rustic feel makes the place cosy and charming, along with a stellar wine list and great service keeps me coming back.

Favourite Bar Memory 

I had an old school friend visiting for the weekend who I hadn’t seen for many years. I took him on a Melbourne CBD bar crawl and gosh was it fun. We hit all the big names and loved them all – Embla, Eau De Vie, Byrdi, Beneath Driver Lane and Nick and Nora’s.

Drink That Describes You

A Tommy’s Margarita. Tequila – fun. Lime – slightly tangy. Agave – sweet (when I need to be).

Best Hangover Cure

A Baker bleu croissant and an Oringina always hit the spot after a heavy night.

Best Overseas Spot

Some of the best memories I have over the years is drinking in some of the most beautiful town squares across Europe, whether it’s in Italy, France or Spain. Those city centre squares have an incredible energy, great people watching and the perfect spot to soak up the sun with a cocktail in hand. Recently I visited Italy with my wife and my son to meet my parents from the UK. We touched down in Rome and stumbled across a tiny place called Osteria Da Zi Umberto in Trastevere, delivering the most incredible authentic pastas. The carbonara was the best pasta I’ve ever eaten, made even better by the young team who were super passionate about tradition.

Best Interstate Bar

I lived in Sydney 10 years ago, so it’s always great to go back and check out some old haunts. A lot has changed since then but in recent visits I’ve popped into Menzies Bar.The fit-out is stunning with a European menu and fantastic staff, knowledgeable and insightful. I also love Dear Sainte Eloise in Potts Point – it has a great menu and interesting wine list. If you can nab an outdoor seat in the lane, you’ll feel like you’re in Europe. 

Drink of Choice

I usually go for a Negroni but the Yuzu Sour at our sister venue The Ugly Duckling is too good. Sweet and sour, matched with Japanese whisky and a hint of star anise it really hits the spot.

Favourite Wine + Winery

I love Lethbridge Wines, based just outside Geelong. I’ve attended a few Truffle events at their Vineyard.  Ray and Marree, who both started as research scientists, are wonderful people. They grow a few varietals including Pinot Noir, Shiraz, Viognier, Merlot, Sangiovese Brunello, Gamay and Chardonnay. My favourite at the moment is the 2021 Pinot Noir with flavours of dark cherry and aromas of mushroom and earthy notes and a subtle spice on the palate.

Best Newcomer

Our neighbours in Richmond, Clover and Lilac Wine have both come onto the scene and smashed it. Charlie’s food at Clover is delicious and he has brought to life an exciting menu with French flair. Lilac is a very cool space in a long brick warehouse. Great space, with great music. I recently visited for Sunday lunch and excellent.

A Wine You Didn’t Expect To Love

Vinteloper Touriga Nacional. This Portuguese grape is perfectly suited to the climate of Langhorne Creek. It’s incredibly smooth and full flavoured with the complexity of a much bigger wine. It actually goes well towards the end of a meal with a good dark chocolate mousse.

What To Order at The Ugly Ducking Now

Yuzu Sours are very popular, but the Azure Punch is the drink of the moment here. Silky fat-washed gin, but surprisingly light makes it to the go-to drink for warmer weather. Vibrant colours – yes, it’s sky blue – and served with a tropical jelly crescent set in orange.

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