555 Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin
02 6574 7229
Restaurant Botanica is known for its emphasis on sustainability and commitment to seasonal produce.
The restaurant is the lovechild of Mark and Belinda Stapleton and their partners in crime, Graham and Jude Turner. In 2008, with a shared obsession for luxury travel, food and wine, Belinda and Mark left the big smoke to develop Spicers Vineyards Estate, at the time a small bed and breakfast property.
The property now boasts 12 luxury hotel rooms, Restaurant Botanica and a day spa, Spa Anise. As the founders of Spicers Retreats, Jude and Graham own a number of other Spicers properties, whilst this is Belinda and Mark’s fourth hospitality venture. Their shared ethos of embracing nature and the circle of life led them to their restaurant’s highly appropriate name – Botanica.
The beautiful verandah-wrapped restaurant, nestled between the vineyard and the property’s guesthouse, resembles a quintessential Victorian homestead. The dining room features French doors, which when coupled with the all-weather verandah, means every table in the restaurant enjoys stunning views across the vineyard and the Brokenback mountain range. The sunny space features warm wooden tones, which complement the lush greenery and botanical theme.
Head Chef, Matthew Bremerkamp, utilises the property’s on-site vegetable and herb garden to create the seasonal menu. This inspired approach comes as no surprise – Matthew hails from Kent, otherwise known the ‘Garden of England’. He developed a passion for cooking while working in a diverse range of restaurants across England’s south-east countryside. Yet, after immersing himself in Australia’s thriving restaurant scene, Matthew fell in love with the produce of the Hunter Valley.
His menu is based on the produce sourced from either the restaurant’s own kitchen garden or local producers in the Hunter Valley, which results in delicious, wholesome and hearty food. Every dish is full of vibrant colour and is plated so that your eyes can feast as much as your palate.
The entree of Robata scallops is a must try – each scallop is grilled to perfection and paired with a delicious morsel of sticky caramelised pork belly. The tender Hunter Valley beef filet is the epitome of perfection, complemented by roasted heirloom carrots, chard and roasted corn.
The dark chocolate, honeycomb, berries and brown butter ice cream is the perfect dish to finish off a memorable meal – the combination of the honeycomb’s crunch and the creaminess of the brown butter ice-cream is Matthew’s insurance that you’ll leave on a high.
Perched on a hill overlooking the sprawling vineyards, it’s no wonder that this restaurant boasts a 15-page wine list. Yet, there is no need to be intimidated, you’re in very good hands. Belinda claims more than a decade of experience tasting the country’s best wine and compiling wine lists, and she is always keen to assist the selection of the perfect drop for your meal.
Restaurant Botanica is always looking for new and exciting ways to treat returning customers; so every Sunday they employ a lineup of live musicians to serenade your culinary experience.
Whether you visit for a weekend getaway, a family fuelled affair or an intimate one on one, Restaurant Botanic has everything you could desire, and an extra dose of charm to top it off.