George Biron has sold his beloved Sunnybrae restaurant to Dan Hunter and partners.
George Biron has sold his beloved Sunnybrae restaurant to Dan Hunter and partners. Photo: Michael Rayner

Hilary McNevin

No longer the Victorian food industry's worst-kept secret, chef Dan Hunter has finally revealed he and his wife Julianne Bagnato have bought George Biron and Diane Garrett's Sunnybrae restaurant in Birregurra.

Hunter, who cooked his last service as head chef of the highly-regarded Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld yesterday, shed further light on his plans for Birregurra today.

The couple have gone into business with the owners of McCorkell Brown Construction Group, Howard McCorkell and Damien Newton-Brown. They will take over the space on August 28th, starting extensive internal renovation on August 29th, as well as some landscaping work with plans to extend the kitchen garden.

Hunter grew much of the produce used at The Royal Mail Hotel in a large kitchen garden on-site, and he said the fact that Biron's garden at Sunnybrae was organic meant he would be able to "start using the produce from the garden straight away."

The restaurant's name is changing to Brae, as it "pays attention to what it was and what it is,” said Hunter. Six Degrees architecture firm are designing the interior, which will include a small bar area and up to 48 seats in the dining room.

Hunter said Brae would "continue to do what I've been doing in Dunkeld, ultra-focused on my style of food ... We will be sitting among what the very best restaurants have to offer, not taming it down at all.”

Hunter admitted he's been looking for a restaurant for a couple of years and started negotiations with Sunnybrae owners George Biron and Diane Garrett earlier this year.

There are plans to build accommodation in 2014, and while he is not ready to talk about staffing for Brae, he said the restaurant should be open in November and bookings can be made from late September.