FARM TO TABLE RESTAURANTS WE LOVE
There's no denying that there's been a big shift away from mass production and international sourcing and toward local sourcing, small batch and "slow" living - and the world of hospitality and dining is no exception. Farm to table, farm to fork, paddock to plate - call it what you will, but we're seeing an increasing number of restaurants popping up around Australia that honour our local farmers and growers. And why wouldn't they?! There's a reason Australian produce is considered some of the world's best.
We've done a bit of research and pick out two of our favourites around NSW - so whether you're in Sydney or up for a cheeky weekend road trip to the South Coast (um, hello - who isn't?), feast your eyes and stomachs on these fab finds.
The Growers, Shoalhaven
Surrounded by the beautiful, green, rolling fields the Shoalhaven region has come to be known for, The Growers is the newest contemporary eatery to hit the South Coast scene. Situated perfectly between Jervis Bay and Greenwell Point and the coastline, The Growers is a celebration of its country-meets-coastal location.
Perfectly honouring the theme of country/coastal, the menu spotlights local producers and growers and is all about honest, casual and fresh food. Ingredients sourced from the kitchen garden are combined with produce from up and down the coast, from Kiama all the way down to Tilba Tilba.
It should come as no surprise that as a pioneer of the movement, Matt Moran's Chiswick makes our list of must visit paddock to plate restaurants. The space itself is surrounded by a lush and prosperous kitchen garden, which thrives year-wide with seasonal produce.
Not only is the restaurant fairly self-servicing, it also operates within sustainable parameters wherever possible, including strict recycling practices, responsible disposal methods, limiting food wastage, removing single use cutlery (including straws), and converting used oil to biodisel, to name just a few.
The menu offers a delicious plethora of seasonal dishes and hosts an extensive wine list. As always, our eyes are drawn to the cocktail menu, which again uses seasonal herbs and fruits that are grown in-house.
The Botanica, Vaucluse
Tucked away in the streets of Vaucluse, this tropical-feeling, leafy oasis is truly an escape for the senses in more ways than one. Committed to sourcing ingredients from local growers and farmers, they claim to create food that is "wholesome, organic, and seriously good" - and they've hit the nail on the head.
Fresh, seasonal ingredients that come together in a menu focuses on the best Australia has to offer - from ocean trout, to wagyu beef, to wood fired pumpkin. Surrounding the restaurant itself is the kitchen garden, which nurtures fragrant herbs, spices, flowers, citrus trees, strawberry and blueberry bushes, and vegetables. Hot tip: try the 'Celestial' cocktail, which uses kaffir lime leaves fresh from the garden.
Attached to the restaurant itself is a day spa, because no farm to table experience is really complete without a massage following, right?
Get your table/fork/plate ready to indulge in these two luscious spots - we're right there with you!
WORDS | Lucy Francis
IMAGES | Courtesy of The Growers, Shoalhaven, Chiswick, Woollahra, and The Botanica, Vaucluse