Brae is located at Cape Otway (Birregurra), Victoria Australia, about 1.5 hrs drive from Melbourne. The drive to the restaurant wasn’t too bad as we got to see some fields of yellow flowers, we know spring is just round the corner. Animal (sheep/ cows/ horses) farms were also spotted along the way.
The restaurant was situated just after a small intersection, and we missed it by abit as it the entrance was not obvious. But we made it on time. The short driveway to the car park passes through the vegetables and herbs garden of chef Dan Hunter.
Meals at Brae are fixed – 6 appetizers and 8 courses sounds a lot to most but at Brae, they ensure guests have a chance to try different seasonal produce (for us it was the winter menu), flavors and textures without being stuffed. All dishes were eye candies, so pretty we could not bear eating them.
There was also wine or non alcoholic pairings available. And we chose the non-alcoholic pairing which was very interesting.
For the appetizers we had
- Burnt pretzel, treacle and pork
- Brook trout roe and nut butter crisp
- Potato and eel sandwich
- Prawn, nasturtium, finger lime
- Iced oyster (made using the juices from oysters added into an ‘ice cream’ mixture)
- Sea urchin and whole grain bread pudding
Drink pairing – jasmine, tonic, pink grapefruit, fingerlime (cute little lime pulp dancing in the drink)
Before the 8 courses commenced, we were served the homemade sourdough and cultured whipped butter. Trust me, the butter tasted so light, like cream and slightly tangy, I just ate it on its own! The sourdough was crispy but abit burnt on the outside, while the insides were moist and soft.
- Crayfish and burnt potatoes, flathead roe, milk and mustard
Drink pairing – Lapsang souchong, burdock root, echinacea, fennel, orange
- Calamari and broccoli, wild greens and blue mackerel
Drink pairing – cucumber, lemon, lime soda
- Warm ricotta and nettle, roasted chicken and brassicas
Drink pairing – oolong tea ‘iron goddess of mercy’, Fujian, China (no photo)
- Hapuku and cured pork, walnut and butter braised turnip
Drink pairing – Australian sencha, citrus, lemon myrtle
- Wessex saddleback and barbequed carrot, fermented roots and dried coriander
- Otway shiitake and pasture raised wagyu, buckwheat, black garlic
Drink pairing – genmaicha – jin mao hou (golden monkey) and toasted wild rice
- Milk, honey and mandarin
- Parsnip and apple
Drink pairing – hot pink lady Apple juice and chamomile
To end the meal, we were served rhubarb and pistachio, blood and preserved blackberry. Pigs blood is used as a binder to hold the nuts and berries. We ordered flat whites to go with the little nut balls.
After the beautiful, delectable, satisfying 4hr meal, we were introduced to the surroundings of the restaurant. Any cooking process requiring the use of oven or griller was not done in the kitchen but at the outdoor oven and grill.