196 Parnell Road
- $ $ $ $
Woodpecker Hill is one restaurant not to be missed. The same crew behind the successes of Ponsonby’s Blue House Inn and Chop Chop brings you an international mash-up of East meets West. Located in Parnell, this is is the place to go to enjoy a fusion of Asian orient spices and Southern-style barbecue flavours all in one mouthful. The chefs have picked out only the freshest local produce to combine the fresh, sweet tangs of chilli, ginger and lemongrass with flame-grilled, smoked and saucy slabs of meat. The menu will have you salivating before you have even sat down. Head over on Sunday to feast on food unlike end other. The Smoker features a fourteen-hour smoked beef brisket ready to be served sizzling straight from the grill when you arrive. Or try the tasting platter to get a bit of everything. Take a friend or two because these meals are made to be shared. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available so nobody misses out.
What better way to enjoy good food than to wash it down with good drinks. Woodpecker Hill features an entire menu dedicated to refreshments. Here you’ll find the experts of whiskey and bourbon. If spirits aren’t your thing, fear not. Flick through multiple pages of wines, beers and cider, both local and international, until you find the one that satisfies your soul. Make sure you give the cocktails a try. All are Kentucky Derby winners. For the non-alcoholics who’d rather fancy a cup of tea, Woodpecker Hill has you covered as well. This is the place to sit back, relax and drink up. Lounge outdoors or cosy up in midst of the unique aesthetics that is American saloon meets Asian temple meets New Zealand. Woodpecker Hill are 2016 Metro Top 50 winners. Come in and let them take care of you. Book now to reserve a table now.
Freshly-shucked oyster, ginger, smoked red chilli & limePrice: $6.00
Crispy eggplant, tamarind, coriander, chilli, sesamPrice: $16.00
Pulled pork steamed spring rolls
fresh herbs, bean sprouts, crushed peanutsPrice: $18.00
Kingfish, pomelo, lemongrass, chilli jam & limePrice: $18.00
Chargrilled salmon, roasted chilli, green apple, corianderPrice: $26.00
Chargrilled salt & pepper squid, lemongrass, lime leaf, green chilliPrice: $24.00
Chargrilled prawns, sweet pork, lemongrass, lime, smoked chilli, tamarindPrice: $28.00
Twelve-hour smoked beef short rib
ginger, Vietnamese mint, cherry tomato, fresh lime, roasted rice - 350-400gPrice: $36.00
Salt & pepper tofu, fried shallots, black vinegar, sesamePrice: $17.00
Green papaya, snake beans, peanuts, cherry tomatoPrice: $15.00
Stir-fried bok choy, ginger, oyster sauce, fried garlicPrice: $10.00
Salt & pepper school prawnsPrice: $12.00
Deep-fried picklesPrice: $10.00
Woodpecker Hill spiced peanutsPrice: $5.00
Chargrilled soy duck, tamarind & roasted rice dressingPrice: $34.00
Fourteen-hour smoked beef brisket
green chilli, lemongrass & galangal - 400gPrice: $37.00
Soft-shell crab , stir-fried
with turmeric, chilli, tamarind, crispy shallotsPrice: $33.00
Spiced curry of burnt ends
lemongrass, fried shallots, Vietnamese mint & limePrice: $33.00
Red curry of smokey pork
straw mushrooms, green peppercorns, wild ginger & lime leafPrice: $34.00
Spiced curry of eggplant
baby corn, lemongrass, fried shallots, mushrooms Vietnamese mint & limePrice: $32.00
Jungle curry of Spanish mackerel
soft shell crab, snake beans, ginger, crispy shallotsPrice: $35.00
Aromatic BBQ lamb curry
cassava, pickled garlic & shallotsPrice: $34.00
Dry red curry, BBQ duck, chillies, wild ginger, baby corn, cashewsPrice: $34.00
Sticky black rice, coconut ice cream, honeycomb, dark chocolate, bananaPrice: $15.00
Banana & pineapple fritters, vanilla bean custardPrice: $15.00
Mango pudding, fresh coconut, bourbon palm sugar caramelPrice: $15.00
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Total Review Score
Metro Review - May 20, 20164.0 Metro Eats 20 May 2016
What makes it special?
Should this work? Barbecue, Texas-style, or at least pan-southern states, combined with Chinese flavours, and washed down, if that’s what you fancy, with your choice of a gazillion bourbons. Well, of course it should work. That’s what truly good restaurants do, isn’t it? Take you somewhere new and wonderful?
Behind the scenes:
Woodpecker Hill won our Best New Restaurant award last year, and while it hasn’t yet sparked the whole Parnell renaissance we hoped for, Woodpecker itself is definitely doing the business. It’s always crowded with happy punters and the menu is full of delights. Whether it’s lunch or dinner and whether you perch at the counter or take a booth and have a little party, get ready for some lip-smackin’ thrills.
A favourite dish:
Fourteen-hour smoked beef brisket served with green chilli, lemongrass and galangal.
What it offers:
Shared-plate options / Free-range chicken and/or pork / Takes large groups / Bar / Bourbon and whisky specialists / Craft beer selection
Canvas Review - April 4, 20154.0 Canvas 4 April 2015
At Woodpecker Hill Mark Wallbank and Che Barrington have taken the Thai street food influence from their successful MooChowChow and into the mix have chucked a large dollop of American smoked barbecue style.
The result is a wildly eclectic barrage of tastes and, judging from the crowd when we visited, one likely to be wildly successful. Even the decor is a terrific hodgepodge. Usually the fit-out of an establishment comes a very long way down my priorities when it comes to judging a restaurant. But here it is hard not to be impressed by the copper-coloured bell-shaped lampshades that look as though they have been looted from some Asian temple, while there are marble-topped tables straight from a retro American saloon and the check-out desk appears to be set in a metal channel full of running water.
NZ Herald - March 29, 20154.0 New Zealand Herald 29 March 2015
The newest restaurant in Parnell achieved something special before even opening for business. Supplanting a pub charmingly called The Bog, it reduced by one the number of Irish bars in the world. When it comes to ridding the planet of colcannon and beef-and-Guinness pie, every little bit helps, I say.
It's hard to recognise the building now, after a wildly eclectic refit that includes clamshell lampshades, sheepskin seat-covers, wrought-iron gates and upward-opening windows, which were propped ajar on the warm summer evening we went. The goblin's-cave dunnies, with music piped through excellent speakers, are an adventure in themselves.
Woodpecker Hill had been open only a few days when I booked, a week ahead, but I could only get a table for 5.30. That's hardly surprising: it's the new venture by restaurateur-chef team Mark Wallbank and Che Barrington, who have form as creators of original and exciting cuisine.
Viva Review - March 3, 20154.5 Viva 3 March 2015
Totally mad. Delightful. Energetic. Brave. Flooded with eager locals. I’ve found myself using many ways to describe the latest venture from the team who brought us Blue Breeze Inn, Chop Chop and, before that, MooChowChow — all of them on Ponsonby Rd, and none of which can quite prepare you for Woodpecker Hill in Parnell.
Inside the purpose-built building is a vast space with a design aesthetic that is a crazy mash-up of styles borrowed from cultures and flights of fancy from Bali to American smokehouse to the grandeur left behind by the French in Vietnam.
Did I mention the giant clamshell lampshades and fleecy brown New Zealand sheepskins thrown around? Somehow, it manages to work. The space is divided cleverly into different dining areas, it has a bar and a section overlooking the hectic kitchen and, as is the trademark of this group, diners are crammed in fairly tight so it feels more like a party rather than a sedate night out for dinner.