I have more posts from Japan but I thought I’d post this from my Hunter Valley trip last year as it was still sitting in my drafts!
We came across Restaurant Botanica on Trip Advisor whilst trying to find a place that opened on Wednesday evenings and wasn’t booked out for a private function (Tip: Many restaurants in the area are closed between Monday to Wednesday, so make sure you plan ahead!)
Like many restaurants in the Hunter, Restaurant Botanica is located in a vineyard, this one was at Spicer’s Vineyards Estate. As we were there at night, we didn’t get to see the scenery but we were able to experience the cozy atmosphere inside the restaurant.
Restaurant Botanica serves a Two ($63) or Three ($75) course experience for dinner, we decided to go for two courses and see whether we had room afterwards.
For my first course, I ordered a seafood entrée Seared Scallops with cauliflower velouté, crisp pancetta and shaved fennel. The scallops were big, juicy and cooked to perfection. The elements on the plate created a delightful dish that I would love to attempt at home.
Peter’s entrée, Crispy Skinned Ocean Trout with lime pickled green paw paw, pork belly, spice roasted peanuts, coriander and mint.I ordered Caramelised Pork Belly with soy, ginger, shallot and Botanica’s garden greens for my main course. I don’t normally order an Asian inspired dish at a Modern Australian restaurant, but as this was towards the end of our trip and I was missing Asian food I decided to give this a go. The crackling was a standout and the pork belly was succulent and full of Chinese flavours.
The restaurant has its own kitchen garden that grows many of the veggies and herbs on their menu including some of the greens in this dish.
Although they say it’s a Two or Three course menu, the friendly and attentive staff also served us complimentary amuse bouche to start, freshly baked bread on the side and cookies to finish our meal. Talk about value!
Restaurant Botanica won Trip Advisor’s Traveller’s Choice (Restaurants) award in 2013. I hope they receive more awards in the future as it was easily the best meal we had in the Hunter Valley.
Spicer’s Vineyards Estate
555 Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
(02) 6574 7229