Warm ricotta nettle, Brae, Birregurra, Victoria
Globally acclaimed restaurant Brae is embarking on a tour of four cities – offering you a once-in-a-lifetime dining opportunity.
By Georgia Rickard
Published: 24 April, 2017
It’s something out of a foodie fairy tale – a travelling restaurant, helmed by one of the world’s most acclaimed young chefs, popping up in various cities for a once-in-a-lifetime series of meals. But this newly announced tour is coming to life in May, on a roster that will take Brae to Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Sydney.
It’s been an excellent year for the eatery. After being open just three years, Brae was listed in 44th place in the 2017 World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards in Melbourne, an accolade shortly followed by the announcement that head chef and owner Dan Hunter’s first book would be released by Phaidon (the publisher of monographs by Massimo Bottura, René Redzepi and Ferran Adrià) in May. Now Hunter will collaborate with other award-winning chefs around Australia to bring Brae’s most distinctive and memorable dishes to lauded restaurants such as Brisbane’s Urbane and Sydney’s Quay, in a unique, one-off fusion of Australian taste and culinary talent.
A MELBOURNE CELEBRATION
Fittingly, Brae’s multi-venue tour will begin in Melbourne – the city where the restaurant received its award at the 2017 World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony – at progressive restaurant Cutler & Co. A worthwhile dining experience in itself, the restaurant is helmed by Andrew McConnell, who is responsible for several flagship dining experiences in the city, including Cumulus Inc and Supernormal, as well as Cutler & Co. McConnell will host Hunter and his team on 1 May for a tasting night, in which between eight and 10 small dishes will be served featuring “bites” of Brae’s most loved dishes. Diners can expect versions of the burnt pretzel with treacle and pork, the smoked eel doughnut and brook trout roe, and the eggplant and saltgrass lamb washed with sweet onion juice, fragrant and acidic plants. Just as at Brae, dishes will feature organic, seasonal produce taken from the restaurant’s own kitchen gardens.
FROM LOCAL FARM TO NATIONAL FORK
Indeed Hunter has become best known for incorporating a distinct sense of place into dishes, and, as such, produce from Brae’s own kitchen gardens will be served on the restaurant’s tour. The former head chef of Spain’s legendary Mugaritz restaurant – who marked his return to Australia with a highly publicised stint at Royal Mail Hotel, which he turned into one of nation’s most prominent dining experiences – developed an extensive set of on-site organic gardens on the 12 hectares (30 acres) surrounding Brae. It’s arguably this strict commitment to seasonal, organic, locally grown ingredients – along with a propensity for the foraging and use of Australian natives – that’s lent his food such a distinctive bent. In Adelaide, where Hunter and his staff will visit Magill Estate Restaurant (the on-site dining experience at the vineyards of Penfolds) on 3 May, the tasting menu will also be accompanied by wines by the storied winemaker, adding another layer of locality.
AN ULTIMATE NIGHT OF FOOD AND LOCATION
But the stand-out experience will be in Sydney, where Hunter will bring Brae to Quay on 9 May. This esteemed restaurant – which has won virtually every notable Australian dining award, including 26th place on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list previously – is helmed by long-time executive chef Peter Gilmore. The two chefs will present a unique five-course meal and paired wines to fortunate diners before Brae’s tour comes to its completion the following evening. At Brisbane’s multi-award-winning Urbane on 10 May the team will once again serve the menu presented in Melbourne and Adelaide. Each dining experience is open to anyone lucky enough to score tickets – bookable by contacting the restaurant directly – but if you can’t manage to snap up a seat, there’s always a visit to Brae itself.
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