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Brae: A sustainable and totally exquisite rural dining experience

Set within the hills of Victoria, this extraordinary fine-dining restaurant is built upon a respect for food and where it comes from.

Perched on a hillside, Brae is a restaurant with six luxury guest suites on a working farm in Birregurra, Victoria. Completely immersed in nature and away from any kind of urban jungle, Brae is completely unique in its approach to wining, dining and hospitality. Totally humble but also creative and front-running in contemporary cuisine, the award-winning restaurant has featured in the world’s best 50 restaurants.

Three-hatted Brae in the green Victorian countryside, provides an authentic and immersive experience. It’s all about the food here, but it’s not only about that. Opting for a dining experience here sees you combining mouthwatering dining with a lesson in nature and seasonality, farming and agriculture. At Brae diners are invited to partake in what is the final step of a long chain of ethical and sustainable practices which sees high-quality creative food grown from the ground, and placed onto the restaurant’s dining tables. Dishes at Brae are a showcase of nature’s splendour, just with a touch or artistry thrown in.

Food at Brae

Chef and owner Dan Hunter opened Brae in 2013 on an organic farm. With a team of gardeners and chefs hard at work, the establishment – as well as a an abundance of organic fruit and vegetables – grew into something incredible. A stroll around the grounds will quickly reveal the extent to which nature leads the way here. Rooted in a real respect for nature, the restaurant sources produce either from its own farm, the surrounding land or local and ethical producers.

In terms of the menu, if you’re thinking degustation you’re on the right track. Yet at Brae the twist is that it’s a little more ‘hearty’. Plentiful courses continuously brought to the table allow for perpetual grazing. Rounds of newly-harvested veggies, fresh seafood, full-flavoured meats and elegant desserts are a given.

Signature elements such as the famous ‘Iced Oyster’, what can only be described as oyster ice cream, served in the shell will take you on a foodie journey. Pork charcuterie, Brook trout roe and nut butter crisp, potato and eel sandwich, whole-wheat croissants topped with pumpkin in olive oil flavoured with wakame seaweed. Whilst food is technical and innovative at Brae, the chef has a style which allows the ingredients – and their roots in the soils of the garden – to shine right through.

Sustainability at Brae

Stepping away from the farm-to-table process for just a moment, it is also worth mentioning

Brae’s commitment to other sustainable practises. A few notable examples included the establishment’s environmentally friendly approach include: complete water self-sufficiency through rainwater capture, the generation of solar energy, converting food scraps into rich organic compost, pickling and fermentation of fruit and vegetable waste products, as well as complete carbon neutrality for the six luxury guests suites on site.

Brae also practices regenerative farming. In other words, organic farming techniques are used to restore the land. Any chemical fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides are strictly eliminated in order to maintain soil quality. Impressively, Brae grows up to 90% of its seasonable vegetables, stone fruits, berries, nuts, grains, olives, honey and other edible plants all on site. Bread is baked with flour with its origins at the farm itself.

Strict sourcing and a farm in such close proximity to the tables where diners sit, encourages guests to reconnect with nature and to learn a little about the origins of their food. In fact, a signposted path that meanders through the farm quite literally makes that connection for those interested in learning a little about their meals. Otherwise, dishes featuring carrots picked merely two hours before touching your plate, makes for an awesome environmental statement.

At the very nucleus of Brae is the idea that eating is a natural process with consequences for the environment and for human health. The restaurant maintains that eating is an environmental act, and whether we like it or not, the way we eat has repercussions for the earth and for our bodies. By celebrating nature, Brae teaches us that it is possible to maintain a flourishing environment, despite indulging in tasty food.

And with a delectable menu packed with the flavours of the four seasons, and views across the gorgeous undulating hills of Victoria, just about anyone could be persuaded to stop and reflect here.

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