Restaurant Botanica, the fine dining, one hatted restaurant at Spicers Retreat and Spar on Hermitage Road is one of my favourites visits on our recent vacation in the Hunter Valley. The stand-alone building on the property with full height glass doors on two sides which opens out onto the floral ended vines blends style and quality in a relaxed Australian way beautifully.

Our host, I have to comment on as, in these Covid times, a group of 8 would typically be shoehorned into a set menu and a fixed price. Jesslyn had figured out that we had a late lunch at Molines (please read our separate review) and very kindly allowed us to choose from the a la carte menu and assisted us with the selection of her evolving wine list. We settled on Ten Minutes by Tractor Pinot Noir from the Mornington and Silkman’ Blackberry’ Semillon from the Hunter. Both well priced and excellent choices for the cuisine and area

Botanica mixes modern Australian dining with a regionally distinctive style using fresh-picked Hunter Valley ingredients daily. My choices were the Wild caught kingfish ceviche, grapefruit, finger limes, chive and the Beef tartare, cured egg yolk, tomato, salt & vinegar chips, perfect with the Semillon. Other standouts, I can also recommend the Spring vegetable tart, cow’s milk ricotta, tomato, looked and tasted amazing.

Apart from the beautiful and imaginative cuisine, I have to say the service was, without doubt, the best we received on our visit to the Hunter and talking with Jessslyn, who comes from Canada and relatively new at Botanica has big plans, I look forward my next visit. Again, book in advance as this is a must.