Why did Phil Wood named his first solo restaurant Ursula’s? Phil reveals the history behind this beautiful name in his most recent Instagram post…an tale of two women named Ursula.
The first Ursula, was an independent young lady who lived around the corner from the restaurant’s Paddington location in the 1930s. As she stepped out and pursued her life and career, Phil guessed that Ursula would have shopped at the then grocery store at 93 Hargrave Street, Paddington, Sydney.
The second Ursula, was an ancestor of Phil’s wife Lis. Being a treasured female relative, the name Ursula was also given to Lis’ mother; Phil’s mother-in-law.
Phil says Ursula’s will be a place for neighbours, family and friends.
Born in New Zealand, Phil Wood grew up on a farm north of Christchurch. His first Australian port of call was an apprentice at Salty Plum on the Gold Coast. After four years he moved to Sydney, and started at Tetsuya’s. Phil won the 2007 Josephine Pignolet Award for best young chef at the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Awards while working at Tetsuya’s. This opened up an opportunity at Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry in the Napa Valley. From there Phil sought career advice from Neil Perry and was offered the position of Executive Chef at Sydney’s Rockpool; together they took the restaurant (later Eleven Bridge) from strength to strength, awards and three hats, for eight years. Most recently Phil was the Culinary Director at Pt Leo Estate on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula.
Phil has just announced that the striking corner terrace in tree-lined Paddington – 93 Hargrave Street – will be home to his first solo restaurant, Ursula’s. The three-storey heritage building with original Victorian architectural features was built in the late 19th century as a house and shop. In the first half of the 20th century it used as a pub and a grocer. From 1968 it housed several prestigious restaurants: first was D’Arcy Glover’s Swiss restaurant D’Arcy’s, then in 1975 Marinangeli and Zuzza reinvented the site as an Italian restaurant called Darcy’s Restaurant, which occupied the spot for nearly 40 years. More recently Guillaume Brahimi’s opened his French Sydney bistro guillaume in August 2014. It closed 30th December 2016.
Phil is honoured to be able to carry on the building’s dining pedigree…made even more special by the fact that D’Arcy Glover was a fellow Kiwi. Ursula’s imminent launch will see the building re-anointed by another New Zealand culinary master.