Restaurant Botanica voted Australia's favourite fine dining spot
It’s long been known as a must-do foodie destination.
Now Restaurant Botanica at Spicers Vineyards Estate has well and truly sealed that reputation by being voted number 1 in a top 10 list of Fine Dining Restaurants in Australia; and number 2 in a top 10 list of Fine Dining Restaurants in the South Pacific by TripAdvisor users.
The acclaimed restaurant in the NSW Hunter Valley won the plaudits as part of TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice 2013 awards, which are voted on by travellers from around the world.
“The menu and food are simply sensational. The service is attentive, not pushy. The wine list is eclectic,” TripAdvisor said of Restaurant Botanica.
With stunning views across its own private vineyard, a focus on fresh, local produce, one of Australia’s best regional wine lists and even its own garden, resident pigs and chickens, Restaurant Botanica is well known as a must-do foodie destination.
Charming, regional and rustic, the restaurant specialises in modern Australian cuisine produced by renowned chef Mark Stapleton.
Along with his wife Belinda, the owner/managing director of Spicers Vineyards Estate, the couple delivers a truly indulgent food and wine experience in an intimately unique wine country escape.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be recognised not only as Australia’s best fine dining restaurant, but number 2 in the top 10 list of Best Fine Dining restaurants in the South Pacific,” Ms Stapleton said.
“These awards are voted on by travellers from across the globe and we are very proud of this achievement because it is an endorsement from the people who matter the most – our guests.
“Our team prides itself on growing as many herbs and vegetables as the kitchen garden can provide, and employ artisan and modern techniques to produce a menu that is fresh, seasonal and chemical free.
“We aim to create a warm, inviting atmosphere for guests to relax in and feel right at home, and to enjoy both the wonderful wine and food of our region.”
The restaurant is nestled on the grounds of Spicers Vineyards Estate, which is located on 25 acres of natural bushland in Pokolbin with rolling views out to the stunning Brokenback Mountains and with its own eight acres of vineyard.
Fully licensed, Restaurant Botanica is open to both house guests and the public for private, group and social functions including weddings.
It offers a variety of menu options, including an a la carte menu with two or three course menu experiences and a Signature Menu of five courses which offers a journey through its seasonal menu.
The menu can include dishes such as crispy skinned ocean trout with lime pickled green pawpaw, pork belly, spice roasted peanuts, coriander, mint for entrée; caramelised pork belly with soy, ginger, shallot and Botanica's garden greens for mains; and treacle pudding with roasted quince, vanilla bean ice cream for dessert.
The Signature Menu can be enjoyed with a matched Hunter Valley wine experience, which includes wine from the restaurant’s own label, Small Harvest. There are over 350 different wines on offer with around 70 per cent of the list focusing on the Hunter and NSW wine regions.
But the Restaurant Botanica experience doesn’t just end at the table.
Guests are encouraged to visit Mark’s gourmet kitchen garden which provides the inspiration for the menu, and say hi to Restaurant Botanica’s resident black Berkshire pigs - Chop Chop (the big one), Salami2 (the loud one) and Crackle (the quiet one).
Restaurant Botanica and Spicers Vineyards Estate have received numerous awards for excellence over the years.
Earlier this year the property was ranked number two in the Top 25 Hotels for Service in Australia; number nine in Top 25 Small Hotels in Australia and number 20 in Top 25 Hotels for Service in the South Pacific in other TripAdvisor awards.
Restaurant Botanica’s long list of accolades includes Best Restaurant in a Guesthouse in the Hunter Valley region at the HOSTPLUS Restaurant & Catering Awards for both 2012 and 2011.
Set back from the buzz of boutique Hermitage Road, Spicers Vineyards Estate features 12 luxurious guest suites, a new purpose-built day spa, Spa Anise, outdoor pool and spa set in the natural bush surrounds.
Guests can also enjoy a lounge room offering cards, chess and a selection of books, an extensive DVD library, an outdoor games pavilion with life-sized chess, checkers and noughts and crosses, along with a dedicated boules/bocce court.
12 August 2013
Change on the menu for Cotton’s Restaurant
Cotton’s Restaurant at Spicers Hidden Vale west of Brisbane is taking a sophisticated new direction under the helm of new Head Chef Ash Martin.
Having made the move from The Peak restaurant at Spicers Peak Lodge, Martin is implementing his hugely successful “paddock to plate” philosophy at Cotton’s which still offers modern Australian fare - but with a twist.
The restaurant is replacing its bistro-style offering with a la carte cuisine focusing on locally-sourced, seasonal and sustainable ingredients.
“Cotton’s still offers modern Australian dishes but with a finer twist,” Martin said.
“We are working to a paddock to plate philosophy which is fresh, seasonal and local and using as much produce as possible from the Darling Downs and Lockyer Valley.
“Cotton’s menu is now more structured and sophisticated. And because I enjoy cooking with French techniques the dishes also have a European edge.”
Cotton’s is the onsite restaurant of Spicers Hidden Vale, situated on a 12,000 acre working farm in Grandchester in the Lockyer Valley, less than an hour’s drive from Brisbane.
Martin has made the move to Cotton’s with his former Peak Lodge Sous Chef Simon Treller and Chef De Partie Emma Parker.
His “paddock to plate” style of cooking at The Peak saw him awarded a Chef’s Hat by The Australian Good Food Guide and the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide, Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year by the Savour Restaurant and Caterers Awards and also Brisbane’s Restaurant of the Year.
This month, Martin will be launching a tasting menu dinner option at Cotton’s which will allow guests to enjoy a degustation style menu with accompanying matched wines.
The tasting menu will be available in the library of the homestead which seats up to 20 people, with an additional private dining room that can be reserved exclusively for up to 20 people.
“I’m very excited by the location of Hidden Vale, which is less than an hour from Brisbane and yet located in one of the most fertile farming areas in the Southern Hemisphere,” Martin said.
“We hand select our suppliers with a focus on natural, humane and organic processes.
“My menus change with the seasons, trends and also with discoveries of local farming gems.”
Martin and his team have introduced a show-stopping chateaubriand to the menu, with game meats and fowl also making regular appearances.
Food is sourced from local farmers and suppliers such as Pilton Valley Premium Pork, Barnyard Game Birds and the Mulgowie markets.
“Consumers are becoming more aware and they want to know where their food has come from, how it was raised and how far it has travelled,” Martin said.
“They enjoy eating local food and hearing the stories behind it – there aren’t too many people who want to visit a Queensland restaurant and eat Tasmanian beef.”
Martin has 13 years’ experience as a Chef, having previously worked at notable hatted Melbourne restaurants. In mid-2011, he embarked on a tree change from central Melbourne and moved to the Scenic Rim, two hours’ drive from Brisbane, to take on the Head Chef role at The Peak at Spicers Peak Lodge.
With his wife Andrea working beside him as Cotton’s Restaurant Manager, Martin plans to take Cotton’s to the same heights reached by him at The Peak, unlocking the treasures of the Lockyer Valley region in the process.
18 April 2013
Spicers Balfour Hotel dishes up new dining experience
Spicers Balfour Hotel has dished up a new addition to its accommodation experience with an onsite restaurant open to in-house guests from 22 April.
The Balfour Kitchen is a bistro-style restaurant with alfresco and indoor dining and a focus on uncomplicated, wholesome and locally-sourced food.
The restaurant is only available to guests staying at Spicers Balfour Hotel in the inner-city suburb of New Farm.
“The Balfour Kitchen is a friendly, bistro style concept which still offers fine dining but with a much more familial atmosphere,” head chef Peter van Lunn said.
“The food is flavour and produce-driven but it’s not elaborate, in fact there’s only three to five prime ingredients per plate. There’s a lot more heart and soul in it as opposed to a high-end restaurant but it’s a lot more honest and simple.”
Mains include market fish with macadamia, fennel and lemon crust served with a large mixed leaf, sprout and tendril salad; and a corn-fed, corn-stuffed chicken breast with smoky bacon mash. Diners can also choose from a scallop dish with pea puree, fennel and watercress salad and saffron beurre blanc.
Mains are priced from $14-30 and are designed to be consumed individually or shared.
For dessert, diners can indulge in a berry, citrus and almond trifle, a flourless chocolate pudding and an apple pizza served with homemade vanilla ice cream.
“It’s hearty soul food,” Peter said. “It’s healthy food but it’s also a little bit decadent at the same time. I try not to touch anything too much but let the flavours and produce speak for themselves.
“We’ve also tried to keep with the theme of the old converted Queenslander – classic dishes but with a twist.”
Originally built in 1901, Spicers Balfour Hotel is a grand three-storey Queenslander that once housed returned World War II servicemen.
Externally the building draws its inspiration from the historic and grand Queenslanders for which New Farm is known. However the interior reveals an unexpected contemporary design which is eclectic, quirky and comforting, offering offers nine uniquely designed rooms as well as a spectacular rooftop bar overlooking the Story Bridge.
Peter grew up and developed his trade in the Brisbane region in restaurants such as the James St Bistro, Mondo Organics and Emporium Hotel. He also spent several years at some of the top restaurants in Paris such as La Societe and Spring.
He recently returned to Australia with his family and brings a wealth of international and Australian experience back to Brisbane.
“The Balfour Kitchen is all about uncomplicated, wholesome food,” Peter said.
“It’s a place where guests can enjoy a glass of wine and a simple, healthy meal with no fuss or great expense.”
Spicers Balfour Hotel is open for breakfast and high teas to the public from 7am every day. Guests have the choice of dining either in the stylish dining room or out on our Queensland wrap-around verandah.
The hotel is currently ranked number one Brisbane hotel on TripAdvisor and also took out three awards in the recent TripAdvisor 2013 Traveller’s Choice Awards.
16 April 2013
Spicers takes home 4 Chef Hats at Queensland Good Food Guide awards
Three properties within the Spicers Retreats group have walked away with an impressive total of four Chef Hats at the 2013 Queensland Good Food Guide awards.
The Long Apron restaurant at Spicers Clovelly Estate in Montville retained its two Chef Hat ranking in the prestigious awards which were announced on Monday night.
The Peak restaurant at Spicers Peak Lodge in the Scenic Rim and The Tamarind at Spicers Tamarind Retreat in Maleny also each retained their one Chef Hat ranking.
“Each property retained their Chef Hat status attained from last year’s Queensland Good Food Guide, proving great food and wine is at the heart of the Spicers’ experience,” Spicers Group CEO Danielle Duell said.
“We’re thrilled to again be recognised by these awards and so proud of our chefs and restaurant teams.
“Awards like this reinforce Spicers' reputation as being home to some of the best restaurants in Queensland and the great part is, after a delightful meal, you're able to stay the night!"
A total of 45 Queensland restaurants were awarded one or more hats in this year’s awards.
Headed by acclaimed chef Cameron Matthews, The Long Apron in Montville in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast hinterland specialises in an innovative European-inspired menu showcasing local ingredients, an extensive wine list and personalised service.
It was lauded by the judges for its “European inspired dishes, which blend classic technique and the finest local produce with exquisite results”.
The Long Apron’s ever-changing menu can include innovative creations such as slow roasted lamb belly with sesame, black cardamom, date and onion molasses; hay aged and roasted duck breast, celeriac, chestnut, berries and pickled rhubarb; and braised Glasshouse snails with roasted leek, morcilla crumble, fennel and apple.
The restaurant prides itself on using local produce such as Hervey Bay Scallops, Kenilworth yoghurt, Maleny cream, Mooloolaba squid and herbs from the restaurant’s kitchen garden.
The Long Apron has won of host of awards, including retaining its two Chef Hat ranking in the recent Australian Good Food Guide’s (AGFG) Chef Hat Awards 2013. Others include Best Fine Dining Restaurant for the Sunshine Coast region at the 2012 Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence in Queensland.
The Peak restaurant, at Spicers Peak Lodge two hours’ drive south west of Brisbane, offers an award-winning degustation menu based on locally-sourced ingredients, grown in the rich Scenic Rim soil, as well as internationally-sourced delicacies.
With head chef Ashley Martin at the helm, the restaurant team provides an unforgettable dining experience and, as the highest non-alpine lodge in Australia, the Peak Lodge dining room boasts spectacular views over Main Range National Park.
The team follows the gourmet philosophy of “paddock to plate” - focusing on locally-sourced, seasonal, sustainable ingredients to create a refined and exciting menu best described as modern European but with an Aussie twist.
Its seven-course degustation menu can include cured salmon with beetroot, citrus and vodka, puffed quinoa, melon and cucumber; red claw yabby with morcilla, mandarin and yoghurt; and confit Warwick pork belly with remoulade, pork cracker and vierge.
The Peak also recently achieved one Chef Hat at the 2013 Australian Good Food Guide Awards, and has won a host of other accolades including Best Fine Dining Restaurant and Restaurant Of The Year at the 2012 Savour Restaurant & Catering Awards.
The Tamarind at Spicers Tamarind Retreat in Maleny in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, is headed by executive chef Daniel Jarrett and brings a taste of Asia to the foothills of Maleny.
Set in a tranquil outdoor pavilion designed to make the most of the peaceful location, The Tamarind specialises in innovative modern Asian cuisine which combines sweet, sour and spicy flavours into dishes that melt in your mouth.
The menu can feature seared Moreton Bay bug tails with chestnut noodles, choy sum, black beans, braised shiitake, pork crackle, Asian broth and a crispy ginger, chilli and garlic relish; and pan fried barramundi with slow braised oxtail wonton dumpling, sweet and sour sauce, lime, chilli and coconut.
Accolades include One Chef Hat in the 2013 Australian Good Food Guide, One Chef Hat in the 2012 Queensland Good Food Guide and Best New Restaurant at the 2011 Savour Awards.
Gourmet Getaways are currently available at each property, with savings of up to $400 on offer for midweek stays during winter.
21 January 2013
Spicers Vineyards Estate sweeps 3 TripAdvisor awards
The votes from savvy travellers from around the globe are in – Spicers Vineyards Estate in the Hunter Valley is officially one of the best hotels in Australia and the South Pacific.
The 5-star guesthouse was included in an impressive three categories of TripAdvisor 2013 Traveller’s Choice Awards, which are based on millions of reviews and opinions of more than 650,000 hotels around the world.
The awards recognise the best properties globally in the categories of Top Hotel, Luxury, Bargain, Service, Small Hotels, and B&Bs and Inns.
Spicers Vineyards Estate was ranked number two in the Top 25 Hotels for Service in Australia; number nine in Top 25 Small Hotels in Australia and number 20 in Top 25 Hotels for Service in the South Pacific.
One TripAdvisor review described the property as: “Only wish there was an option to rate it as 6 star – AMAZING!”
Spicers Vineyards Estate general manager and co-owner, Belinda Stapleton, said the property prided itself on going above and beyond when it came to service.
“Each day we find ways to surprise and delight our guests and exceed their expectations,” Ms Stapleton said. “We believe this is what sets us apart from other hotels and we are thrilled our efforts have been recognised by our guests on TripAdvisor.”
21 January 2013
TripAdvisor announces Spicers Balfour Hotel as among Australia’s best
The votes from savvy travellers from around the globe are in – Spicers Balfour Hotel in inner Brisbane is officially one of the best hotels in Australia.
The five-star boutique hotel was included in two categories of TripAdvisor 2013 Traveller’s Choice Awards, which are based on millions of reviews and opinions of more than 650,000 hotels around the world.
The awards recognise the best properties globally in the categories of Top Hotel, Luxury, Bargain, Service, Small Hotels, and B&Bs and Inns.
Spicers Balfour Hotel was ranked 18 in the Top 25 Small Hotels in Australia and number 11 in the Top 25 Luxury Hotels in Australia.
One TripAdvisor review described the property as a “marvellous boutique hotel!”
“We are very proud to be included in these lists because they are endorsements from the people who matter the most – our guests,” Spicers Group CEO Danielle Duell said.
“Many people now use TripAdvisor to plan their holidays and research their accommodation options. We are thrilled to have been recognised by TripAdvisor travellers who have shared their wonderful experiences at Spicers Balfour Hotel with millions of others online.
“Referrals and guests who talk to others about their positive experiences remain our greatest and most objective form of promotion, which also ensures we remain vigilant in providing the highest level of service.”
15 January 2013
Spicers restaurants recognised by national AGFG Chef Hat Awards
Three restaurants within the Spicers Retreats Hotels & Lodges group have been recognised nationally for culinary excellence in the Australian Good Food Guide’s (AGFG) Chef Hat Awards 2013.
The Long Apron, the signature restaurant of Spicers Clovelly Estate in Montville in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, retained its two Chef Hat ranking, scoring 15 out of 20 points for its innovative European-inspired degustation menu.
The restaurant rose one point from its ranking last year, making it just one point away from being a three Hat restaurant.
Spicers Peak Lodge’s acclaimed restaurant The Peak, located in the spectacular Scenic Rim south west of Brisbane, and The Tamarind at Spicers Tamarind Retreat in Maleny in the Sunshine Coast hinterland both achieved one Chef Hat.
It is the first time The Tamarind and The Peak have been included in these awards with both scoring 13 points out of 20.
The Australian Good Food and Travel Guide has long been acknowledged as Australia's most comprehensive restaurant, accommodation and travel authority. Its annual Chef Hat Awards emphasize great food, with a focus on ingredients, seasonal consideration, flavour, display, aroma, freshness, craft, presentation and portion size.
- The Long Apron, Spicers Clovelly Estate - 2 Chef Hats
- The Peak, Spicers Peak Lodge - 1 Chef Hat
- The Tamarind, Spicers Tamarind Retreat - 1 Chef Hat
29 September 2012
Spicers Balfour Hotel wins Best Hotel under 50 Rooms at the 2012 International Design & Architecture Awards... Read more>>
12 September 2012
Spicers Sunshine Coast restaurants win state awards
- The Long Apron, Spicers Clovelly Estate - WINNER Best Prestige Restaurant
- Sam Giles, Restaurant Manager of The Long Apron - WINNER Food & Beverage Employee of the Year
- The Tamarind, Spicers Tamarind Retreat - WINNER Best Restaurant Accommodation Division
10 September 2012
Spicers wins Restaurant of the Year
The prestigious 2012 Savour Australia Restaurant & Catering Awards for Excellence are in!
|WINNER Brisbane Restaurant of the Year|
|WINNER Best Fine Dining Restaurant (Brisbane and Darling Downs|
The Long Apron
|WINNER Best Fine Dining Restaurant (Sunshine Coast)|
|FINALIST Best Restaurant in a Motel/Hotel/Guesthouse (Brisbane and Darling Downs)|
|FINALIST Best Breakfast Restaurant (Brisbane and Darling Downs)|
|FINALIST Best Modern Asian Restaurant (Sunshine Coast)|
|WINNER Best Restaurant in a Motel/Hotel/Guesthouse (Hunter Valley)|