Restaurant Botanica is set at a beautiful location at Spicers Retreat in Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley. Surrounded by a kitchen garden with a variety of vegetables and herbs, the menu draws local inspiration and showcases produce from the region.
Beautifully lit at night, the restaurant glows with warm tones as you follow the hedged path past a cosy lounge with a fireplace. An inviting interior and feature light fittings give the venue a romantic feel.
Botanica offers a la carte dining but the Signature Menu with matching wines is the best way to sample the dishes and discover regional wines.
The degustation begins with a selection of house-baked artisan breads, ciabatta and a delicious sourdough made from a mother culture from San Francisco that is over 100 years old.
Carrot and Ginger Soup
An amuse-bouche of Carrot and Ginger Soup follows. The soup is lightly whipped giving it a light texture with a gentle kick of ginger on the finish.
Pomelo & Pink Pepper Spiced Prawns
The next dish intrigues with the delicate squid ink lace. Pomelo and Pink Pepper Spiced Prawns come with tiny dollops of creamy avocado, verbena mousse and dressed with prawn oil. The prawns are sweet with a good measure of pepper from thr trees that are grown onsite. The verbena mousse lifts the dish with a delicate citrus flavour.
The prawns are accompanied by a 2013 Pinot Gris from the Little Wine Company, a boutique wine producer and one of the few female winemakers in the region. The wine is light and easy to drink with a good balance of fruit and citrus.
Green Pea & Almond Pannacotta
Next is a dish with a description that doesn’t do it justice. Green Pea & Almond Pannacotta may not entice at first but this smooth and savoury combination is a delight. It comes with toasted wild rice for texture, creamy pea puree, a subtle smoked yoghurt with a hint of citrus which lifts the creaminess.
The accompanying Tyrrell’s Stevens Single Vineyard Semillon 2010 starts soft and subtle then displays good structure and lingers with live and zesty flavours.
Apple Cider Sorbet
The Apple Cider Sorbet palate cleanser is made from a Hunter Valley cider with fresh apple pieces.
Mandagery Creek Venison
Mandagery Creek Venison has all the elements that make it a successful dish. Tender, pink, gamey and full of flavour, the accompanying sweet potato layers work well with the meat. The goats curd adds a sour element while the and pea pesto adds a savoury touch.
The first red wine of the menu is David Hook De Novo Rosso 2013, a blend of Nebbiolo, San Giovese and Barbera and makes a fine accompaniment to the gamey dish.
Slow Cooked Pig Cheek
Slow Cooked Pig Cheek melts in the mouth with an unctuous almost gelatinous texture. It comes with horseradish croquette, fennel cream, golden beetroot and garnished with parsley.
2013 Hart and Hunter Ablington Shiraz is the accompanying wine and holds up to the robust flavours of the dish.
St Andre Cheese, Fig Paste, Date
An additional cheese course ($10) is available with a choice of Bleu d’Auvergne, Hard Cheese and St Andre shown above. the cheese is served with a fig paste and date.
Vanilla and White Chocolate, Kiwi, Lime, Buttermilk, Cocoa
For dessert, it’s Vanilla and White Chocolate, with kiwi, lime, buttermilk and cocoa with a most unusual Mistletoe Petite Muscat 2013. This lighter style of Muscat wine is floral and perfumed at first with honeysuckle notes then as it opens in the glass, it exhibits an aroma reminiscent of gin.
Restaurant Botanica in the Hunter Valley ticks all the right boxes. From service and knowledgeable staff to fresh produce that is often picked from the surrounding vegetable and herb garden, it is an experience to be recommended.
The Signature Menu costs $110 per person, or $155 per person with matching Hunter Valley Wine which allows you to discover wines that you may not have tried before. A 2 Course experience costs $69 per person and a 3 Course Experience $79 per person for the a la carte option. Visit for lunch to enjoy the beautiful views from the verandah overlooking Brokenback mountain range or book for a romantic dinning experience in the evening.
Restaurant Botanica is featured on our Top 10 Picks for Hunter Valley Wine & Food Month 2015.
Gourmantic visited the Hunter Valley and dined at Restaurant Botanica as guests of the Hunter Valley Wine and Tourism Association.
Restaurant Botanica @ Spicers
555 Hermitage Road, Pokolbin NSW 2320
Ph: 02 6574 7229
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