When we first heard about Spicers Vineyards Estate, we didn’t quite believe how much awesomeness could exist in one place. A destination restaurant, a kitchen garden complete with adorable pigs, and a vineyard with its own exclusive wine label? Needless to say, we’re pretty jealous of the kangaroos on the property for getting to live here full time.
Of course, as far as Hunter Valley restaurants go, Restaurant Botanica is pretty special. To start, we have the view: vineyards in the foreground, mountains in the back. Drink it up with a glass of the pinot chardonnay to get things off on the right foot.
The next is a little surprise, because no one really talks about the amuse bouche or the bread to start, but much like the rest of Spicers retreats, they take it up a notch or three. The bread they make in-house uses a sourdough starter that’s over 150 years old, and it totally raises the bar for what we now expect of our bread. You have been warned.
Next, the wood smoked quail will be forever in our hearts. With pretty heirloom beetroots, crunchy pecans, and mascarpone, mandarin and vino cotto, this dish even manages to steal our gaze from the view for a bit (especially since there’s super-fresh greenery from the garden in there). The lamb and duck dishes stop all conversation as they’re devoured, but then we can’t help making plenty of verbal exclamation marks when dessert arrives.
The mille feuille looks beautiful, of course, but the crispness of that pastry against the creamy rhubarb-quince filling is all the more memorable. And like the retreat, it’s a little bit fancy and special, yet still totally relaxed.
So it looks like you’ve got your next road trip plans sorted. We’d definitely recommend booking yourself in for the night, because when you get here, you’ll want to stay a while (and not just because you’ll want to drink plenty of the amazing wine on offer!). Say hi to the resident roos for us in the morning!
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Image credit: Jackielyn Powell