The problem with restaurants in remote locations, is the coin toss to see who will take on the role of designated driver. And since Brae - a restaurant located in the town of Birregurra about 90 minutes from Melbourne - opened at the end of 2015, there has understandably, been a massive demand for the few bed and breakfasts in the area.
Thankfully chef Dan Hunter and his team have now launched six suites on his 30-acre property in the beautiful Otway hinterland near the famed Great Ocean Road. Melbourne-based Six Degrees Architects and interior design firm Studio Round were responsible for the rooms that mirror Brae’s dining room; spacious and contemporary, each features individual pieces by local artist Rhys Lee and handcrafted ceramics, bespoke linen and custom-designed furniture by Dave Murray. Materials – slate floors, blackbutt timber panelling, marble bench tops and brass fittings – are sleek and smooth. The construction, though, is sustainable: recycled bricks, solar energy and harvested rainwater are an integral part of the design.
There are plenty of extras, from a skylight – perfect for country star gazing – and cocktail bar to Thorens turntable with a selection of vinyl records, for guests to enjoy. But they also have access to gumboots and umbrellas to get out into the orchard, olive grove and kitchen garden to join the chefs and gardeners as they go about their work.
Hunter, who was most recently at the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld and Spain’s Mugaritz, has won acclaim for his prix fixe menu, created from vegetables and fruit grown on the property, native ingredients and other local produce.