Experience warm, approachable, and regional dining at Spicer’s Retreats
Finding an exquisite dining experience in the Hunter Valley is certainly not a hard feat, with plenty of top restaurants right at your fingertips there is always somewhere new to explore. One spot, in particular, needs to be included in your list, and it’s hidden among the grapevines and gumtrees on the outskirts of Pokolbin at Spicers Vineyards Estate.
Meet – Restaurant Botanica.
With Head Chef Chris Rhoney at the helm, Restaurant Botanica has been broadening the appeal of their dining experience to casual diners who are keen to discover delectable cuisine, a superb wine list, and impeccable service.
Overlooking the estate’s on-site vineyard, this warm and approachable restaurant exudes nothing short of style and sophistication across their food, wine, service, and atmosphere.
With a signature emphasis on locally sourced produce and naturally sustainable practice, Rhoney has really brought his skills, talent, and experience in the kitchen to the forefront and stepped it up a level for this iconic venue in the Hunter Valley.
Originally from Lancashire in the UK, Rhoney relocated to Australia in 2014 and has been found working away in Alla Wolf-Tasker’s iconic Daylesford’s Lakehouse restaurant and Mitchelton Wines in Victoria before heading up Restaurant Botanica in June 2020.
Having been awarded One Chef Hat in the Australian Good Food Guide for the past three years, and two glasses in the 2020 Australian Wine List of the Year Awards, Rhoney’s kitchen and the front of house team at Restaurant Botanica have and are continuing to create a high-end experience for diners.
The perfect spot to base your Hunter Valley adventure, Restaurant Botanica features both a three-course a la carte menu (dedicated Vegan menu available too) and a five-course tasting menu (dedicated Vegetarian menu available too). With each menu championing seasonal dishes, guests can expect effortlessly matched wines from the Hunter Region.
“Visitors and guests can see Chris and his kitchen team working in the abundant kitchen garden, selecting the freshest, most flavoursome fruit, vegetables, and herbs, which take the vegetarian and vegan a la carte options to a new level.”
Whilst they grow and harvest what they can onsite, the Restaurant Botanica team utilise the Hunter region’s expansive produce available by sourcing seasonally from a host of small-scale farmers or surrounding areas.
Just recently, the team here at HUNTERhunter had the opportunity to drop by Restaurant Botanica to try their Autumn menu and sample the much-loved dining experience. From Rhoney’s iconic Lobster Rolls to the pièce de resistance, Millefeuille.
“When developing new dishes and menus, we work as a team – both kitchen and front of house. Our people’s ideas and feedback are invaluable, and with collaboration comes ownership and a powerful sense of pride.”
To start, you would be crazy not to order a Lobster Roll each – setting the scene for the dining journey about to take place on your plates. Complete with lobster, citrus mayo, dill, and a house-made steamed milk bun; it must be tasted to be believed.
For a true flavour explosion, Rhoney’s take on a starter salad with Heirloom tomatoes, Stracciatella, strawberries, balsamic and shiso; its unexpected flavour will have you wanting more.
The main menu offering features a delicious selection of dishes including Potato Gnocchi with roast heirloom tomatoes, Binnorie feta, and basil; Barramundi with brandade, pickled squid, tomato & caper button, and saffron; Duck breast with confit duck leg bonbon, heirloom carrot, beetroot, and orange; Steak au poivre with broccolini, parsnip, and pickled shallot; and Lamb Rump & Breast with garden pea, black garlic, and root vegetable gratin.
The desserts are as equally spectacular with a collection of flavours to finish up your meal including Sourdough Ice-Cream, Raspberry & Almond Tart, ‘Snickers’, a selection of cheese, or our personal favourite, the Millefeuille.
The French word, translated to English literally means one thousand sheets, and this old-school French pastry has been beautifully created hereby Rhoney alongside poached nectarine, rose, and crème diplomat.
Diners can enjoy their menus with paired wines or can browse the restaurant’s extensive beverage list including a broad selection of Hunter Valley, Australian, and international wines as well as beer, mocktails, and cocktails.
Open for dinner seven nights a week, and for lunch from Friday through to Sunday, Restaurant Botanica is the perfect spot to make the most of a romantic weekend away in the Hunter Valley.
For those wanting to take their Restaurant Botanica experience to the next level, you’ll want to check out their upcoming event on the 22nd of June. Enjoy an evening amongst the vines with the First Creek Wines Dinner at Restaurant Botanica.
“Head chef of Restaurant Botanica, Chris Rhoney, and Greg Silkman from First Creek Wines have come together to present a dining event you won’t want to miss. Sample Botanica’s award-winning cuisines and experience how each dish pairs with First Creek’s distinctive wines.”
Where: Restaurant Botanica | 555 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin
When: 22 Jun | 6pm
More Info: click here