Brae | A Regional Victorian Example in Flawlessness

Second time visit to a venue I never thought I would have the opportunity to return to

In 2019 I heard of this restaurant in a magazine article and having more money than sense at the time I booked Brae with Claire. Two weeks after I booked the 2019 Good Food Guide’s Best Restaurants of Australia list was published and Brae won the coveted Best Restaurant in Australia. It was then booked solid for months in advance until the plague shut it down for a long time.

They have held THREE CHEF HATS ever since and I have followed them and the amazing Chef Dan Hunter regularly, I wouldn’t call it stalking but close to it. They run local competitions in the local area of Birregurra, Vic, these competitions raise money for the local school and area, and I have entered them since I have known about them. The first comp I entered I was dying with excitement to win first prize, a lunch for 2. Lunch for 2 on my first time was over $700- per person.

And what do you know, I won the 2nd prize, accommodation at Penny Royal Farm Cottages – a divine little BNB Farm Stay in the area. This took care of the accomodation, we still needed to pay for the meal, flights and car hire. I invited mum to join me, I wanted her to taste the best food in Australia and we started saving for it.

The Venue (information off their website)

Brae is a different type of restaurant. Led by chef Dan Hunter, Brae is a restaurant, organic farm and boutique accommodation nestled in a hillside in the Otways hinterland.

They create dishes uniquely of their place with respect and care, honouring the working lands on which they’re located.

For over a decade, they’ve been stewards of this landscape and have evolved and refined an innovative approach to a cuisine modelled around principles of ethical, sustainable production.

Brae encompasses 20 acres of productive farmland and considered accommodation in regional Victoria. They manage the lands around Brae using regenerative farming techniques – free of pesticides and synthetic inputs – to produce much of what they serve in the restaurant. Each morning, their team of gardeners gather a harvest for that day’s service – which they complement with ingredients produced ethically by passionate local growers.

They encourage guests to connect with the landscape and have established paths throughout the property so you can explore the land that informs their ethos.

Brae isn’t a restaurant – it is a life changing experiential journey to culinary heaven.

The People

The people are the highest quality servers and they are well looked after. If you look after your staff they will look after you.

They are only open 12-5pm for one sitting on Thursday to Saturday and only open one night, a Wednesday of all days. This way all the staff can work all the shifts. I heard from someone that they wanted to give all the staff Sundays off, now this is unheard of in hospitality. But the quality of everything and what you pay for it all would cover all of this. They don’t appear to work for money, it appears Brae is there to operate in sheer opulence and present the best of everything on the plate and in the glass.

Management knows I am a food writer and photographer and they probably know how obsessed I am with their country oasis. They offered me free accommodation for the night of our visit.

More on the accomodation below but when they found out I had my mum with me and we weren’t going to be sharing a bed, they gave me another room for free. I exchanged all my pics from the rooms. A fair deal considering the accommodation in one room for the night would be worth two days shooting haha

Staff met us in the carpark and delivered our bags to the room.

Each dish in the venue is placed on the table at the same time, by seperate people, that is what gets you the Best Restaurant in Australia award.

What we ordered…

Pickled fennel, blood lime and frozen yoghurt

Sorrel glazed with apple and cucumber

Prawn and kohlrabi hand roll

Lightly cured scallop, daikon and cultured desert lime

+ 2022 Melbourne Sake ‘KH’ Muroka Nama Genshu, Melbourne, Victoria

Swede and young garlic, rainbow trout roe and butter sauce

Potato gem with bread and butter pickle

+ 2022 Girolamo Russo ‘Nerina’ Carricante et al, Sicily, Italy

Pork jowl barbecued with smoked eel

+ 2021 Fuente Guijarro Sidra ‘Clásica’, Sierra Nevada, Spain

Murray cod, mussels, romanesco and saffron

+ 2021 Clos Cibonne ‘Cuvée Caroline’ Tibouren, Provence, France

Brae Farm vegetable garden September 7th 2023

+ 2020 Reed ‘To Brae With Love’ Sparkling Riesling, Geelong, Victoria

Aged Pekin duck roasted on the bone, white turnips, black truffle and cultured corn Duck liver and pistachio

+ 2021 William Downie ‘Gippsland’ Pinot Noir, Gippsland, Victoria

Wild shot fallow deer, sauce of beetroot and oloroso

+ 2018 Maison Philippe Pacalet ‘Cornas’ Syrah, Rhône Valley, France

Lemon reset

+ Brae citrus sour

Strawberry gum ice cream and frozen passionfruit

+ 2021 Heroes ‘Das Helden’ Riesling, Otway Hinterland, Victoria

Parsnip and apple

The Food

Now the most unusual part of the menu that I haven’t told you as yet. You do not know what you are eating until it is delivered, there is no ordering, only their degustation menu which changes daily. When they deliver each dish they explain the dish and sometimes how to eat it. And when settling your mortgage to pay for the meal they give you a copy of the menu in an envelope as a keepsake. I have two envelopes in my autographed Dan Hunter Brae cookbook haha.

On this second visit, I found the menu a little safer than in 2019, in 2019 they had oyster ice cream, much to Claire’s dismay, she dry reached hahaha – I adored it and finsihed everyones. I was wishing they still had it, I really needed mum’s reaction to it lol.

Now I will not go through every dish, but the pork jowl they had last time and I adored it, their salad was also on both menus but I think they made it even larger this time with over 50 ingredients, most of which they grow on the farm. The Duck and the Deer were my fave dishes. Mum was mostly speechless, she didn’t get the wine pairing and just ordered when she needed and sampled mine.

If you do go be prepared for one of the best meals of your life, before the mains come out you will be bursting at the seams, this is when you get a break to take a stroll through their gardens and around the dam. And you return refreshed to continue – pure genius.

A quick mention of the wine – it is possibly the best wine pairing in history and they tell you the story behind each bottle and where it is grown, they literally know everything and how and why each drop is perfect with the dish you are about to eat.


You can only stay on the farm on days you eat at the restaurant, so my honeymoon plans will be bloody expensive haha.

This is the single nicest accommodation I have ever stayed in. Guests wake to a breakfast of house-made wood-fired sourdough, pastries, preserves and organic seasonal produce, served in-room with fresh juice, St Ali coffee, Harney & Sons teas and Schulz organic dairy.

Checkout is 11am, giving you plenty of time to explore the farm. Follow meandering paths through our orchards, olive groves and vegetable beds to connect with the land that provides produce for our restaurant. In case of inclement weather, they also provide gumboots and umbrellas.

An optional seasonal supper is also available for our lunch diners.

The front of the accommodation is private land and no one is allowed to walk on it – so you can embrace being naked if you are like me and want a bath haha.

Put it this way, when I entered the room Janis Joplin was playing on vinyl on a Thorens turntable. One other thing of note, each room is net-zero emissions, literally everything has been considered.

In Conclusion

If I could give 6 Stars to Brae I would. Thank you to Dan and the crew for looking after us.

If I was to get married, I would want my honeymoon here. No need for overseas, just the best accommodation and food of all time. We would happily spend the entire time in the room anyway practicing the art of sexy sweet love hahaha.

SCORE BREAKDOWN: 3/3 food, 2/2 service, 1/1 drinks, 1/1 venue & ambience, 1/1 cost, 1/1 toilets & 1/1 bonus

*** Spooning Australia was invited, with thanks, by the venue ***

All photographs are Copyrighted by Spooning Australia and Jason King – please feel free to share with full credit provided.

Brae Details



+61 3 5236 2226


4285 Cape Otway Rd.

Birregurra, Vic.




The Highest

Opening Hours



17:00 – 22:00


Thursday to Saturday

12:00 – 17:00

Vegetarian Options


Local Delivery


Gluten-Free Options


Kid Friendly
Definitely Not