Perhaps the best thing about being a chef in South West Victoria, is having access to fresh meat, fruit, vegetables, herbs and preserves.
Dan Hunter at Brae, has his own extensive market garden at his 25 acre Brae Farm and what he doesn’t grow, he sources locally.
Having this advantage allows him to keep his menu seasonal with exciting new dishes, and to match food with wine originating from the same earth.
The benefits of running a restaurant in this part of the Great Ocean Road region also means he’s part of a very talented and innovative hospitality industry.
When he’s not working in the Brae kitchen, he’s trying new tastes and flavours at local cafes, restaurants and breweries run by my peers in and around Birregurra.
Here are 5 of Dan’s favourite places that he thinks you should try, too:
Simon and Kara Stewart have created a homely, local restaurant at Yield Restaurant and Providore, with delicious food made with fresh produce grown in their home garden and sourced from local farmers. Pop into the providore while you’re there to pick up some excellent local cheeses and wines.
The ‘Birre pub’ was recently reopened by a couple of fantastic local women, Amanda and Maryanne, who have brought the life and soul back into this local favourite. It’s a great country pub with good food, cold beer, pool table and friendly locals. You can’t come to Birre without popping in for a cold one, and maybe staying for dinner. And, unlike most country pubs, meals are available all day from 7.30am.
I’m not gluten intolerant, but I eat at this gluten-free bakery at least once a week, simply because they make delicious toasted paninis. My go-to is the chicken, fetta and pesto. Justin also makes the best coffee in town, and we always keep their pizza bases in the freezer at home for a quick dinner, too.
If you happen to be in Birregurra on the second Sunday of the month, the Birregurra Market will be on in the park. It’s a great chance to pick up locally grown garlic, jams and other produce.
Much of what makes our region great isn‘t in the town itself, but out on the farms and land surrounding us. The Otway Harvest Trail map is the key to accessing these open farm gates, farm stores and cellar doors. It’s a great way to get your hands on really fresh seasonal produce, including access to the many pick your own berry farms and organic growers in the region.
Other great things about Birregurra
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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.