Spicers Vineyards Estate | Restaurant Botanica
Imagine a destination restaurant near Sydney and picture-perfect retreat set up on a kangaroo-studded vineyard, that also happens to make its own wine label. Luckily for you, it exists - oh, and it's a short bike ride away from all those amazing wineries in the Hunter Valley (and yes, bikes are included). That means plenty of rolling through the countryside to your next vineyard, top notch dining at Restaurant Botanica when you get back and collapse in a heap, and a scenic bath after a long day of leisure.
As with all Spicers Retreats, Vineyards Estate is built to create epic dining (and wining) experiences. Home to Restaurant Botanica and a kitchen garden that supplies many of the herbs and greens for your dinner (oh, and some adorable Berkshire pigs!), it's like someone built your dream retreat and then added delightful surprises along the way too, just for funsies.
We don't want to give too much away, but we were totally up for the pre-dinner cocktail for example, enjoyed on the balcony while watching the sky do its sunset-y magic. It's the perfect introduction to your dinner, which is just steps away. No worrying about how many wines you can have for the drive home = true bliss.
Start off with the most amazing bread you will ever eat (no really - even our favourite Sydney bakeries have nothing on the stoneground flour loaf). The sourdough starter has been brought in all the way from San Francisco and there is 150 years worth of flavour in every bite. But calm yourself, for the best is to come.
Sit back to gaze on that dusky vineyard view while your glass is topped up with something sparkly (well, that or a semillon, which grows particularly well in this region). It'll soon be competing with the view on your plate, and the flavours dancing around on your palate. The flavours are true to the freshness of the produce (some of it straight from the garden behind the restaurant), but there's plenty of "oohing" to do at the inventive way they've been combined. Wood-smoked quail with petals of pretty chiogga beets, and creamy mascarpone? Beautifully balanced with pecan and mandarin. You'll just have to try it to understand, and we're fairly certain you're booking your next weekend getaway right now.
Image credit: Jackie Lyn Powell