Dan Hunter at Brae
Dan Hunter at Brae

Brae is now the top restaurant in Australia

Here’s how Dan Hunter’s locavore Melbourne establishment won over his fellow Aussie chefs and restaurateurs

We always knew Brae was special. Dan Hunter’s excellent restaurant, housed on a 14-hectare plot just outside Melbourne combines locavore cuisine with a distinctly inventive, laid-back, Australian take on contemporary gastronomy.

Now, it seems many within the Australian food-and-drink industry share our views. A few hours ago Brae was placed first in the Australian Financial Review's list of Australia's Top 100 Restaurants.

 

Dan Hunter's restaurant, Brae
Dan Hunter's restaurant, Brae

The list is the only national awards drawn up by Australia’s chefs and restaurateurs, who vote on their favourite establishment. Brae tops 2017's list, thanks to its “inventive, original, yet grounded,” qualities, according to the AFR’s citation. “The top restaurant in the state – and the country – is housed in a charming cottage set within 14 hectares of productive gardens, chook sheds and luxury accommodation in regional Victoria. Dan Hunter calls his Victorian Otways property “a place to interact with nature and eat from the land”, sending out an ever-changing 15-course menu that uses produce from Brae’s own gardens and orchards, culminating in a now-legendary parsnip dessert.”

 

The vegetable gardens at Brae
The vegetable gardens at Brae

And how does Dan himself account for this success? Interesting, he places less emphasis on the food and surroundings and more on his team’s interpersonal skills. “There's an intent to reach a high level of hospitality, day to day," he said following the announcement. "It might sound corny, but hospitality for many of us is about creating those people-to-people relationships." For more on those relationships, and that parsnip dessert, order a copy of Brae here.