French classics Excellent value at this city institution
Not much has changed at Woodes in the 25 years I have been visiting it and, one imagines, it has altered little since the day it opened in 1966.
The huge Barraud and Lunds wall clock behind the counter may still be ticking but everything else at this landmark Park Street café appears to be timeless – apart from the two red and chrome La Spaziale espresso machines on the counter, it's as if time has stood still since the year England won the World Cup.
For 47 years, this French-style café has been run by Bernard Rogers and it feels so rooted to its prime location that it doesn't look like it's going to move for at least another half a century.
Woodes has seen many new cafés and bars open in Park Street but not even the arrival of the big chains further up the road have affected trade or lessened its appeal. If anything, this small, independent café has never been busier.
This week's delicious £5 5 O'CLOCKTAIL is a refreshing Tequila Sunrise. Available everyday from our Bar for only £5 between 5pm & 7pm.
Terms: £5 cocktail applies to the cocktail of the week.
Contact: 0117 2448281
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
Woodes has the look and feel of one of those cafés you chance upon in the back streets of Paris. There are marble tables, polished wood floors, wood panelling, brass rails on the counter and walls plastered with vintage French art posters.
I grabbed one of the window seats with their excellent people-watching potential, but the cosy booths upstairs are also highly prized.
Woodes feels as if it belongs to a bygone era of cafés – a time long before bucket-sized caramel lattés were most people's idea of a decent coffee experience.
Although modern cappuccinos and lattes are served here, the strong, smooth filter coffee has always been the thing to order. At £1.20 for a small cup served with cream, it's still the best value coffee in Park Street, as is the breakfast tea at 80p a cup.
Food here is limited to sandwiches, soups, cakes and pastries, although the early morning bacon sandwiches are still among the best in the city and worth a detour.
The lunchtime soups are £1.80 and the choice is resolutely old-school – tomato, vegetable, mushroom or chicken. There's no place for newfangled flavours here.
My tuna and tomato sandwich (£2.55) served on thick slices of granary bread was generous in the extreme – the tuna and mayonnaise mixture, shredded iceberg lettuce and sliced tomato was virtually spilling out.
A caramel slice (£1) was millionaire's shortbread in all but name and, once again, excellent value and the perfect match for the filter coffee.