Valentine's Day was extra sweet at Spicers Hidden Vale in Grandchester, an hour outside Brisbane. February 14 marked the return of diners to the homestead central to the historic luxury retreat.
Hidden Vale's highly-awarded and hatted restaurant, Homage, has moved back to the property's homestead, which has been rebuilt after it was gutted by fire two years ago. The restaurant had been operating out of a century-old barn on the property.
Their ovens destroyed by the fire, executive chef Ash Martin and his team embraced a cooking-with-fire concept and – necessity being the mother of invention – this is now a theme of Homage's offering, with the new kitchen including a Mibrasa grill, fuelled by the pruning of local olive trees.
New dishes incorporate ingredients such as honey from Homage's own bee hives, fruit from the garden, and eggs from Hidden Vale's own heritage breed hens. Yabbies farmed nearby and pork from Goombungee's ethical fifth-generation Schultz Family Farms are just some of the other local ingredients featured.
A cellar containing some 3000 bottles fuels the new list which runs to around 300 mostly Australian wines (French champagne being the overseas exception).
Homme Interiors, Fortitude Valley, and the 150-year-old Rockhampton company, James Stewart & Co, Australia's longest surviving family-owned department store, and other Australian furnishing companies have contributed to creating the luxurious and distinctly country Queensland look of the interiors.
The owners also took the opportunity to instil sustainability into operations, with a large rainwater tank now hidden beneath the verandah and reclaimed bricks used in fireplaces.
Homage Restaurant, is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. See spicersretreats.com