Press pause on that Netflix doco, kick off your fluffy slippers and hurl yourself into socialising this winter: some of the best restaurants around the country have created exclusive dining experiences to celebrate these cooler climes. Here are some of the best dinners warming up diners this winter.
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to experience the reinvigorated Quay since its resplendent $4 million makeover, now is the perfect time. Created specifically for the season is a limited edition, five-course menu that offers a taste of Peter Gilmore’s culinary imagination. It includes exclusively developed meals alongside signature options, such as the Snow Egg’s much anticipated replacement, Moo, a dairy-worshipping dish with flourishes of dulce de leche, salted caramel and daubed with cocoa tuille biscuits.
Overseas Passenger Terminal, The Rocks; (02) 9251 5600
Royal Mail Hotel
Image credit: Courtesy of Royal Mail Hotel
The Royal Mail Hotel redefined travel to the rough and rugged Grampians region, gifting the area a luxury hotel and fine-dining hub. Its dedicated Winter Gourmet Escape Package gives guests the best of the property’s offerings, including two night’s accommodation in a plush homestead room, as well as a five-course dinner (a sample menu suggests tastes of parsnip cheesecake and beetroot with bone marrow and juniper) at the award-winning Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel restaurant. Also included is a breakfast hamper laden with goodie, as well as a meal at Parker Street Project, the property’s slightly more casual on-site eatery.
98 Parker St, Dunkeld; (03) 5577 2241
Winter is the season of the truffle, that knuckle-like knot of indefinable deliciousness. Until the end of August, Tamar Valley’s Stillwater continues its annual celebration of the elusive fungi with a dedicated, truffle-infused menu. Across the four courses, spoils from nearby Tamar Valley Truffles will feature buried in creamy mascarpone and sharp taleggio-spiked risotto or hasselback potatos smeared with whipped truffle butter.
2 Bridge Rd, Launceston; (03) 6331 4153
Plenty of warmth radiates from Firedoor (pictured top), the Surry Hills restaurant that eschews electricity and gas for open fires. Thrusting the humble vegetable to the forefront for its Big Night Out menu, Firedoor gives diners a true taste of the flavour the hungry fires impart on plants – expertly charred cauliflower and cabbage are on regular rotation.
23-33 Mary St, Surry Hills; (02) 8204 0800
OTIS Dining Hall
Why shouldn’t you enjoy truffles at every meal? Canberra’s OTIS Dining Hall has the right idea for the season, with a three-course lunch and a five-course dinner menu centred on winter’s greatest reward. Don’t expect them flecked on sleek, traditional plates, however. At this lively eatery, they add punch to beef tartare tacos and sweet, wibbly pannacotta.
29 Jardine St, Kingston; (02) 6260 6066
Bennelong represents the best of Sydney and its menu the best of Australia; reimagined, of course. From its liquid nitrogen-clouded lamington iteration to its very fancy pikelets, jammed with yabbies and cultured cream, you won’t get a more refined version of your childhood than on a plate at Bennelong. Choose the five-course selection, available throughout winter, and you’ll have executive chef Gilmore’s playful, inventive approach distilled into the perfect number of edible portions.
Bennelong Point Sydney Opera House, Sydney; (02) 9240 8000
Can’t secure a spot at Orana? Try putting your name down at Bistro Blackwood, the powerhouse’s little sister venue next door. Until the end of August, Sundays are the best day to book; diners have five options for mains from the Winter Special Roast Sunday Menu – a fixed-price, four-course menu that heaps comfort food, such as gravy-drowned roast pork belly or roast chicken, onto warming plates for just $50.
285 Rundle St, Adelaide; (08) 8227 0344
Defy anti-carb activists and dive fork first into Otto’s pasta tasting menu. Known for its fresh, pillowly creations, expect spanner crab and mascarpone-stuffed cappellacci and mushroom envelopes of agnolotti during a deliciously broad tour of Italy’s diverse speciality.
8/6 Cowper Wharf Roadway, Woolloomooloo; (02) 9368 7488
All images: Nikki To