Charred owner and head chef Nicolas Wood wants Toowoomba families to reconnect, talking, laughing and sharing food around his tables. Leaving a bustling city life in the heart of Adelaide, Wood was nervously excited about a move to the Downs but says the wonderful support of his family and the generous feedback from Toowoomba residents have affirmed the move.
Now in his second restaurant gig, Wood enjoys having a venue of his own, where he can make his own rules and explore his creativity with passion. The Charred café, restaurant and function venue maintain a casual feel with a sprawling alfresco space and intimate inside dining room. Offering an elegant menu, Wood says his inspiration for new dishes is “a natural by-product of living hospitality, food and cooking”. Charred’s menu is seasonal, changing to accommodate new food trends and locally sourced produce. Some signature dishes cannot be swapped out for long. The decadent peanut bar created such a splash that regulars demanded the velvety chocolate, peanut butter nougat and caramel mousse sensation be brought back immediately. Always aiming to please, Wood obliged, but is hoping to amaze with even bigger taste experiences in the future.
Wood’s family are actively involved in the business with his mum Susanne and dad David the co-owners. “The café menu is brief but diverse and receives great feedback, while the dinner menu offers robust proteins and a wide range of vegetable and salad choices,” Susanne said. “We’re excited to show diners how interesting and tasty humble ingredients like carrots or potatoes can be.” Charred offers breakfast, lunch, coffee and desserts, but Wood’s real vision is to differentiate the restaurant from others is its night time share menu. Share plates big enough to fill families up and get them talking, interacting, laughing and being present are the soul of Charred’s dining experience. Everything revolves around family: the business, the menu and the atmosphere. Susanne even features her original artwork in the intimate inside dining room.
Wood says the road to success has not always been paved with peanuts and chocolate. Faced with challenges, the tightknit, hardworking family redoubled their efforts to make the business a staple on the Toowoomba foodie circuit. “Instead of looking outwards, look inwards,” says Wood. It is a simple sentiment, but one that inspires him to keep going. The team at Charred is focused on constant improvement through reflection. Wood has many aspirations when it comes to future endeavours, and “would definitely consider a different location for an entirely new concept”. He says Charred was something specifically designed to fit the needs of Toowoomba families — a concept that thrives in the social family hub in which it is located. For now, he is content to continue nurturing Charred and his vision for family connection, celebrating the relationship he has with his own family. He says Charred will always have a special place in his heart; a driving vision that he passionately describes as truly exciting.
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