The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2017

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Page 60 of 124

60  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2017 HOT PROPERTY W oodley Proper is a chic hideaway of velvet couches, wood paneling, and exposed Edison bulbs. The open kitchen- and-bar area proudly displays liquor barrels, Moscow Mule mugs, and industrial mixers for the housemade breads, cheeses, and triple-cream ice creams—subtle hints that guests are in fact in a cocktail lounge, not the Anthropologie catalogue of their dreams. Woodley Proper is a first foray into a full spirit liquor license for married chef duo Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee. "We both grew up here," says Frankland Lee of "The Valley." "Well, sort of." (Kallas-Lee split her childhood between Southern California and Latvia.) He continues, "When I was younger, I wanted to go over the hill [to L.A.'s West Side] and learn to cook, but my plan was always to come back here, where there are so many open-minded palates but no chef-driven restaurants." The pair own several culinary hotspots in the San Fernando Valley, including Scratch Bar & Kitchen and Frankland's Crab & Co., but now they're turning their attention to cocktails. "I hate that you need to go to The Varnish, Seven Grand, or a Houston Brothers project to get an experience," says Frankland Lee. He and Kallas- Lee are changing that. Woodley Proper pours the classics, in addition to a tableside cordial cart and tea service, as well as a host-your-own cocktail party package. But here, the chef-driven house cocktails are the real showstoppers. "For us, it's working with produce and cooking techniques in an alcoholic format. There's not a lot of cookery or culinary manipulation involved in traditional cocktails," Frankland Lee laments while discussing their innovations that include mushroom-steeped Pernod, snap pea syrup, and prosciutto fat infu- sions. "You take what's classic and meld what you offer to that." Frankland Lee and Kallas-Lee are also applying a small-format, tapas-esque approach to their drinks as Woodley Proper prepares to serve 2½- to 3-ounce versions of its rotating seasonal house cocktails. Frankland Lee calls this a "new approach to an old sport": "It lets guests share and play as they taste their way through the beverages." Frankland Lee is adamant their approach to the cocktail world is not "cool for the sake of being cool." "Our focus is exploring what the craft currently has to offer and seeing what we can bring to the table," he explains. When asked about the future, Frankland Lee grins knowingly. "We want to go to Tales [of the Cocktail] next year and win. Best new bar. Best bar in the world," says Frankland Lee, his sights set on greatness. "If not, it won't be for lack of trying." A sampling of Woodley Proper's small- format food offerings. A Place for Proper Pours Margarita Kallas-Lee and Phillip Frankland Lee are the chef/owner duo behind Woodley Proper in Encino, CA. CHEF-DRIVEN COCKTAILS MAKE THEIR WAY TO L.A.'S SAN FERNANDO VALLEY by Mara Marski / photos by Joshua Freedman The Jordy: A housemade cock- tail with vodka, Yellow Chartreuse, and passionfruit, garnished with raspberry foam and edible flowers.

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