Restaurant Botanica at Spicers Vineyards Estate | Pokolbin, AUSTRALIA

We had a weekend getaway at Spicers Peak Lodge recently and we enjoyed it so much that when I was planning this Hunter Valley trip, Spicers Vineyards Estate was my top pick for accommodation. Unfortunately, we later found out that they don’t accept children at Minibun George’s age (*insert sad face). It wasn’t all bad news though as Restaurant Botanica, the Estate’s restaurant is open to all ages, so needless to say a reservation was made as soon as we confirmed our flights. 

Spicers Vineyards Estate is nestled on eight acres of private vineyard. Our car reached the destination just before sunset, the sky was a palette of pastel blue, cream white and light orange, which made it the prettiest backdrop against the tranquil green vines, elegantly waving their leaves in the wind. Our waitress brought over a small basket of warm bread to the table before she took our orders. The menu here is regionally distinctive in flavours and style. You can order anything from quail, venison, beef cheeks and of course, crusted lamb so we agreed on the 3-course option at $79 per person. While waiting for our entrĂ©es, I couldn’t help but take a walk outside to steal some snaps before the sun disappeared below the horizon. 

After a delicious amuse bouche, we had robata grilled scallops w’ leekchi, pickled ginger, wild puffed rice and miso corn as well as the soft shell crab w’ roasted peanuts, green paw paw and caramelised chilli. I really enjoyed those plump, delicate scallops and I thought the sweet taste from the miso corn complemented the scallops perfectly. The soft shell crab had a lot of Asian influence, it was fresh and tangy to the palate, and it had just the right amount of heat. 

My main meal of Wagyu beef cheek w’ red peppers, chorizo, white beans, celeriac was the money shot. The beef cheek was incredibly tender and it literally melted in my mouth with each bite. It reminded me of something that a farmer (one that can cook really well and perhaps is able to compete on TV, like Masterchef) would cook for his family on a Sunday. The same thing goes for Minibun George’s roasted lamb with vegetables. I was a little unsure about the other travel bunnie’s venison w’ wild mushroom, kumara, yoghurt, preserved lemon, though. I found the flavour of the venison quite strong, but the other travel bunnie didn’t mind it and promptly finished the entire dish. 

By the time our desserts arrived, I was definitely not interested in sitting at the table like a lady anymore. Indeed, I was so full all I wanted to do was to curl up under the table and hire. But hey, my dessert, dark chocolate w’ honeycomb, berries and brown butter ice cream looked too tempting to pass, so I ate it anyway! #Noregrets. The other travel bunnie’s beignets w’ hazelnut, apple, mascarpone, pedro ximinez were like little loukoumades, crispy on the outside and warm and fluffy on the inside. It wasn’t a heavy dessert and Minibun George helped a little to finish it. 

Our dining experience was a very pleasant one at Restaurant Botanica, and all was enjoyed with stunning views looking out across the beautiful private vineyard to the Brokenback Mountain Range.

Total Bunnie Dollars Spent: $195

Restaurant Botanica Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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