Harvested fresh from fertile volcanic soil by the weathered hand of a knowledgeable local. Food and beverages produce in the Otways just taste better. Join the Otways Harvest Trail to taste the reasons why.
A common belief is that quality dining options cannot be found in regional areas but thanks to some visionary chefs with a passion for regional produce this belief is fast changing.
The Otway region is home to Brae by Dan Hunter, a modern 30 seat restaurant focused on utilizing the benefits of the location and eating from the land. Located near the small town of Birregurra just over 1.5hrs from Melbourne the town’s people are certainly proud of their local celebrity chef!
The trophy cabinet at Brae is overflowing with recent accolades including
- Chef of the Year - Dan Hunter Gourmet Traveller Awards 2016
- Regional Restaurant of the Year The Age Good Food Guide 2016
- Named No. 87 in the list of the World’s Best Restaurants
- Restaurant of the Year The Age Good Food Guide 2015
- Named No. 4 Restaurant in Australia in Australia's Top 100 Restaurants by the Australian Financial Review
Each day the menu is created using the highest quality ingredients that are available from the fruit and vegetable garden plus supplies from local farms and other sustainable producers across Victoria.
The restaurant is open on the following days and bookings are essential.
Dinner - Thursday to Saturday
Lunch - Friday to Monday
Describing themselves as equal parts microbrewery, eating place and mountain biking hang-out the Forrest Brewing Company is owned and operated by a brother and sister team, Matt brews the beers and Sharon runs the business.
Housed in the renovated old general store in Forrest, the brewery produces four regular beers available all year round and on occasion wheels out a seasonal brew or two. Everything beer related is done on site including brewing, hand bottling and labelling.
The menu is casual and tasty featuring locally sourced ingredients and guests are welcome to dine in their cycling gear if they so choose given that the venue sits right in the heart of Victoria’s leading Mountain Biking hub with a world class array of tracks and trails on offer.
Forrest Brewing Company is open seven days a week. Bookings are recommended, especially on weekends and holidays.
Sunday to Wednesday: 9am - 5pm (serving breakfast & lunch)
Thursday to Saturday: 9am - late (serving breakfast, lunch & dinner)
Delicious wine and fresh berries served with a slab of locally made cheese and some bread from the local bakery, these are what holidays are made of and no you don’t have to be in Tuscany or Provence to indulge your palate. These delicious treats can be found all around the Otways.
Using the Otway Harvest Trail to guide your taste buds around the country roads, gather your loot for an indulgent holiday feast. Stop off for some fresh berries and homemade jams at Gentle Annie Berry Gardens, then continue on and collect a bottle of berry gin and local cider from Pennyroyal Raspberry Farm & Cidery. Did someone say wine? Choose from over 6 wineries plus the Forrest Brewing Company for a brew or two to keep the grownups happy. You certainly will not find it difficult to stock the picnic basket as you tour the farm gates, provedores and cellar doors.
Exhausted from tasting and shopping? Let local chefs prepare a meal for you at one of the excellent dining options from celebrated Brae restaurant to the family friendly Wonky Donkey in Forrest. You are spoilt for choice in the Otways, and you don’t have to do the dishes!
Numerous berry farms surrounding Pennyroyal Valley offer pick your own (PYO) berries. Apart from being scrumptious, PYO is a lot of fun, especially for the littler ones. Fill your buckets with vine fresh strawberries, raspberries, boysenberries and bramble berries within the November to March season. Pennyroyal Raspberry Farm is the oldest working berry farm in the south west of Victoria and grows everything organically. After working up a country appetite, most of the berry farms have an onsite cafes that know just the trick.
Pennyroyal Raspberry Farm & Cidery
Since 1985. Organic PYO berries and Teahouse in season. Light lunches, Devonshire teas, artisan preserves. Real cider – “Crucible” – and farm made berry Gins. Fully self contained cottages available all year.
Open 10am - 5pm, Mon - Sun (Dec - Jan)
Take home fresh
It's not just the local restaurants and cafes that have access to the Otways deliciously fresh produce. Check around the corner and you just might find an open farm gate or farmers market. There are also plenty of providores scattered about selling fresh and prepared treats.