Farm to fork dining as Botanica Vaucluse showcases its spring collection

Sydney has fallen in love with its city farms; first it was Grounds of Alexandria, then ACRE eatery in collaboration with Pocket City Farms, then a small but perfect rooftop spot at The Fernery. Until recently the East of Sydney hasn’t seen had much paddock love…until the arrival of Botanica Vaucluse.

Chef Perry Hill in the farm gardens

Led by executive chef Perry Hill, most of the ingredients are sourced from the restaurant’s polyculture Jamberoo Valley farm just two hours south of Sydney. Using organic farming methods it produces fruit and vegetables and is also a happy home to pasture raised grass fed cattle and free-range chickens (more on that later).

Outside gardens at Botanica Vaucluse

Don’t expect to be sitting on a farm crate. The entrance sets a scene of grandeur as you walk under a golden arch of fairy lights. The dining room is an instagram treasure with soaring ceilings, a glass wall which opens out onto kitchen gardens. By night the feature walls are a riot of peacocks, toucans, mandarin trees with pops of colour from the pick leather armchairs whilst hanging lights are dripping with greenery. Its like dining inside a posh terrarium.

octopus (left), ceviche (top right)

Nothing is ordinary about the food. There is something beautifully uncomplex and honest about honouring produce without the faff. Start with a single tentacle of chargrilled octopus escabeche with a micro herb salad or try the Kingfish Ceviche – a trio of slices sitting on a bed of avocado, black garlic, coriander, with a slither of radish topped with by a green crispy tapioca tostada. Next is the golden roasted chicken. Oh my! Its food for the soul. Its creamy white flesh is juicy and rich in flavour with a smoky, chile-based mojo rojo, complemented with farm garlic, and an eggplant salad. Generous layers of melt in the mouth Rangers Valley Wagyu beef bavette needs nothing more than a shot of acidity from freshly made chimichurri, topped with finely sliced garlic shoots. Finish with a pretty Eaton Mess.

Eaton Mess Crushed Pavlova

There is nothing rustic about this dining experience. It’s feminine, bold and luxurious. With produce this fresh, planted, grown and nurtured with love, seasons are not something which is a gimmick, it’s part of everyday life of harvesting the produce from their farm. It’s our privilege we get to feast on it – no wellington boots needed.

Botanica Vaucluse
2 Laguna Street, Vaucluse, 2030
Hours: Wed-Fri 12-3pm, Sat breakfast 9am, Lunch 12pm, Dinner 5pm. Sun 9am breakfast, lunch 12pm
Stay at the farm –
Four Course Bottomless Champagne Brunch –

About the author

Karen’s corporate job back in the UK had included entertaining clients in some of the best restaurants. This ultimately sparked a curiosity 'Just how do they do that?' (she confesses she was brought up on meat and vegetables, so this was all very exciting). Currently a Mr & Mrs Smith 'Tastemaker', she’s flashpacked around the world, learning about wine, experiencing different cultures and cuisines and had a two- year love affair with it all. Originally from England, she finally settled in Australia and continues to be besotted by food, wine and travel preferring to focus on the luxury end of town (thread count does matter).