Nestled behind The Mark Moran complex in Vaucluse, The Botanica is the hidden gem where seriously nourishing food is king. When it comes to the perfect combo of fresher-than-fresh food, top-notch service, and a beautiful dining room, these guys nail it. The focus is on locally sourced, organic ingredients and, if it weren’t so damn tasty, the food would almost be too pretty to eat.
After shutting up shop during 2020's COVID lockdowns, The Botanica has reopened with a brand new fine-dining chef at the helm and a new gluten-free menu.
While the sunlit conservatory slash garden oasis look and feel has remained, taking over the reins in the kitchen is chef Carl Johnson, whose resume includes stints at Heston Blumenthal's Michelin star restaurant in the UK, as well as working as head chef at The Bridge Room in Sydney and sous chef at Quay (just casually).
Johnson's new menu hasn't strayed too far from The Botanica's OG food philosophy. With a strong focus on locally sourced, organic, and seasonal ingredients, inspiration for food and drinks is drawn from The Botanica's surrounding kitchen garden.
For breakfast, try the green shakshuka with chargrilled avocado, sour cream, and chilli, or the avocado and grape guacamole on toast with confit tomato and crispy chickpea. Sweet tooths will love the sweet potato waffles blueberries, mascarpone cream, and candied walnut.
For lunch and dinner, set the tone with a plate of freshly shucked oysters served with a prosecco mignonette, finger lime, and wakame. Back it up with The Botanica's spin on a few Sydney MVPs, like burrata, served with beetroot, truffle, and hazelnut pesto, and a wagyu beef tartare plated up with cultured cream, mushroom, and potato crisps.
Mains are unfussy, refined staples like a woodfired cornfed chicken with whipped polenta, a wagyu rump cap with chimichurri and confit onion, and, for vegos, a tasty smoked eggplant dish with silken tofu, mushroom dashi, and sesame.
Coeliacs and the gluten-intolerant crowd will be stoked to learn The Botanica's new menu is completely gluten-free, save for the sourdough served at breakfast.
To drink, The Botanica will be pouring a fresh range of floral and fruit-inspired spritz and cocktail jugs. Keen to dial things up? The Botanica has bottomless packages which include your choice of two hours of Prosecco, wine, and spritz ($55 per person), or Veuve Clicquot champagne ($95 per person).
Image credit: Nikki To