I’ve developed a bad habit of choosing my dining options based on people’s instagram photos. I say it’s bad, but it has led me to some of the city’s best cafes and restaurants. When making the snap decision to squeeze in lunch ahead of an Australian Ballet photo shoot in the Botanic Gardens (which was stunning by the way), I remembered seeing a steady stream of incredible photos taken at the Botanic Gardens Restaurant and my choice was easy. But first a Facebook message… could they accommodate me with a very tight time frame, and was that window long enough to serve up their $50, 2 course lunch. They weren’t phased. Of course it could be done.
Upon arrival (before the lunch rush hit) I was whisked to my seat and asked if I was after anything in particular. I let them choose dishes that would work with my time frame and I wasn’t disappointed.
Swiftly served up with an amuse bouche to begin, my tastebuds were brought to life by some beetroot, garden greens (from their own little garden no less!) and some delightful Woodside Cheese. And a cheeky white wine to accompany it.
No sooner had I finished, the first of my three courses by acclaimed head chef Paul Baker was delivered. Instagram hadn’t failed me. It was a beauty to behold. Smoked Tommy Ruff escabeche, mussel custard, smoked mussels, fennel, and a squid ink cracker. Fresh, tangy and beautiful. Perfection on my palate. The crunch from the cracker added some great texture while I was enjoying the spectacular 180 degree views of the garden and pond from my window-side table.
Next up I was presented with braised chicken & duck ballotine, pancetta, celeriac, farro, carrot & mustard fruits, and cavolo nero. Another spectacular dish. Another instagram success story. And was it tasty? I don’t have enough adjectives to explain how fantastic this dish was.
My only regret? Only having half an hour to dance through these culinary masterpieces before rushing off for the photo shoot in the gardens. Next time I’ll be making this a long lunch with friends.
The Botanic Gardens Restaurant
Lunch Tuesday to Sunday from 12 noon
Dinner Friday and Saturday Nights from 6.30 pm
Exclusive Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner events available 7 days by appointment.