Botanic Gardens Restaurant
In mid 2018 the Botanic Gardens Restaurant entered a new era.
Head chef Paul Baker took charge of the kitchen in 2014. Now, he’s done away with starched white tablecloths and, in turn, the traditional preconceptions that tend to attach to “fine dining”.
Design firm Williams Burton Leopardi (Exchange Specialty Coffee) steered the long-time-coming, two-stage redesign. Stage one is now complete. The space is light and bright and its best asset is the gardens.
Tabletops of various shapes are either solid oak or Carrara marble, each with a corresponding style of Italian-imported chair. The mustard-yellow ones have a curved back you can really sink into. Perfect for the perils of an afternoon-long degustation.
Tableware is hyperlocal. Handcrafted plates come from Brambles Pottery in Strathalbyn and Bennett’s Magill Pottery. Clay vases by Jam Factory maker Ebony Heidenreich are two-tone, emulating the oak and marble tables they sit upon. Simple, it may seem. But the attention to detail is impeccable.
Baker’s menu is ambitious and reliant on produce plucked from the nearby Botanic Kitchen Garden. Given it’s tweaked multiple times a week, a new version is printed daily – just before service – once the kitchen has locked in the day’s dishes.
Stage two of the refurb is slated for completion by early 2019. It will include a retiled and polished-up entranceway, louvers to catch the summer breeze and “slide-in” fixtures to fill a few nooks in the ceiling (without structurally altering the heritage-listed building).
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