18/20

Brae

4285 Cape Otway Road, Birregurra, Victoria

Daring garden-based cuisine at Brae.
Daring garden-based cuisine at Brae. Photo: Supplied

Dan Hunter leaving Dunkeld's Royal Mail was a matter of 'when', not 'if', and in the former Sunnybrae, a rambling farmhouse set in hectares of garden, he's found the perfect place to replicate its bucolic spirit.

The town of Birregurra, like Dunkeld before it, now stars on the foodie map, with culinary tourists drawn to Hunter’s daring garden-based cuisine.

It's thrilling stuff but there's blessedly little pomp, with cutlery-free starters such as beef tendon crisps dusted with pepperberry. Indigenous ingredients are used widely - lemon myrtle adds pizazz to confit calamari with pickled baby turnips washed in daikon, cucumber and fennel juice; finger lime cells pop over braised wagyu short rib with shiitakes, lime and rock samphire.

And a dessert of fried parsnip skin with apple and parsnip mousse is a revelation. Backed by an international wine list with a strong local spine and a service team almost as starry-eyed about the Brae mission as the diners, a new gastrotemple is born.

And … Staying in town? Some local accommodation provides transfers.
 
Vibe: Your architect's country house meets gastrotemple
Best bit: Food, service, location
Worst bit: Tricky logistics
Drinks: A strong global list

 

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4285 Cape Otway Road, Birregurra, Victoria

  • Cuisine - Contemporary
  • Prices - Degustation menu $180 (10 courses)
  • Features - Bar
  • Chef(s) - Dan Hunter
  • Owners - Dan Hunter, Julianne Bagnato, Howard McCorkell, Damien Newton-Brown
  • Cards accepted - AMEX, Mastercard, Visa, EFTPOS
  • Opening Hours - Lunch: Fri - Mon, Dinner: Thurs - Sun
  • Seats - 50
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A capital restaurant capitalising on the unique character and flavours of the Canberra region.