Brae is an elegant farmhouse restaurant in Birregurra. It is a small town 90 minutes drive to the west of Melbourne. Chef Dan Hunter set up his restaurant on an organic farm amongst the softly rolling hills. The team grows sustainable vegetables and fruits that make their way to the seasonal menu. The restaurant also provides six luxury suites for guests to stay overnight. We managed to book a suite and made it a weekend getaway without having to drive back to Melbourne at night after a five-hour unforgettable culinary experience.
Here we go, the 13-course Spring degustation with matched wines.
Such a decadent meal, starting with chargrilled prawn head wrapped with kohlrabi to eat like a taco. The bowl underneath housed a delicious broth of finger lime and scampi roe. The smoked eel doughnut looks like a Spanish churro with completely unexpected savoury flavours. It goes so well with the freshly shaved honey and rainbow trout roe. I love the sweet and salty sensation all at once, especially when the roe pops. The legendary Iced Oyster is absolutely beyond my imagination. The oyster shell is filled with oyster-flavour creamy sweet ice cream, then dusted with a layer of dehydrated oyster and sea lettuce powder. I enjoyed every spoonful of it. The crispy skin Peking duck is ridiculously tender and tasty paired nicely with the sour squash and whipstick wattle seeds. Shall we say this is beyond a five-star version of Peking duck with plum sauce? Finally, for the dessert, holly molly parsnip and apple. I do not eat parsnip, but this crispy parsnip with apple cream has me fall in love with this dessert. The matching wines are equally impressive to go so well with the bold and dynamic flavours of each course.
Five hours were happily eating away until we realised it was midnight. A few minutes walk back to the cottage suite. We had a couple more drinks while listening to David Bowie's vinyl record played. The next day morning, we had freshly baked bread and pastries delivered. The rest of the continental breakfast items (cold meat, cheese, jam and fresh fruits) were in the fridge for us. Even the breakfast was well organised and delicious.
The verdict - $260 pp plus matched wines $160 pp and $630 for the suite, it is expensive but worthy of the money for the time we spent here. Brae, a regular on the World's 50 Best Restaurant list for years (highest ranking number 44), consistently draws attention around the globe to the Australian culinary scene. Chef Dan Hunter continually evolves the menus based on the seasonal produce from his organic farm. I love the bold, playful contrasting flavours and textures in his food. This farmhouse-fine dining experience in country Victoria is simply awe-inspiring. We will book a second visit, no doubt.
I hope you enjoy reading the review and the photos. Bon appetit!
4285 Cape Otway Rd, Birregurra VIC 3242