The Australian Financial Review Top 100 Australian Restaurant awards has named regional Victorian restaurant Brae number one for the second year running. Now in its fourth year, the awards are voted by the country’s top chefs and restaurateurs from a list of 500 restaurants picked by the Financial Review’s best critics. The list of restaurants not only includes the hottest fine dining spots in cities around the country but also covers the best restaurants from rural country spots to coastal hideaways. Regional restaurants accounted for 18 out of the top 100 in this year’s list, a climb from 14 in the 2017 awards.
Headed up by award-winning and well-respected chef Dan Hunter, Brae has been considered one of Australia’s best restaurants since its opening in 2013, the chef’s first solo venture. Previously Hunter headed up another notable regional restaurant, The Royal Mail in the town of Dunkeld near Victoria’s popular tourist spot, the Grampians National Park.
Brae, located just outside the charming town of Birregurra on a farm in the Otways hinterland, is just over a 1½-hour drive from Melbourne and 30 minutes to the coastal town of Lorne on the Great Ocean Road. Dan Hunter explains “the ethos of Brae centres on hospitality in its truest sense; food that’s memorable and sustainability. Our farm property is managed using organic principles, we grow much of the food we serve in the restaurant and have created a place for visitors to disconnect from the everyday and be immersed in the natural environment where their food is grown.”
Visitors dining on the multi-course degustation at this sweet unassuming farm cottage restaurant are treated to some of the most innovative and contemporary cuisine imaginable, and full of surprises. And it’s not only Australia who thinks so, with Brae landing the 58th spot on the recent World’s Best Restaurant list.
By Kate Morgan