Known as a lunch venue, the team in charge of the Botanic Gardens Restaurant is looking to start a regular dinner service for the first time in its history.
Known as a lunch venue, the team in charge of the Botanic Gardens Restaurant is looking to start a regular dinner service for the first time in its history. Head Chef Paul Baker has been planning dinner service since taking over the restaurant nine months ago. He has held specialty teaser dinners, such as the upcoming seven-course Dinner Sessions on Friday, March 27, to test the waters. With a pending change in the liquor license, he hopes the restaurant will be open on Friday and Saturday nights from the middle of April. “We’ve been planning this since we first opened,” Baker says. “It was just a matter of getting some traction, getting people to look at what we’re doing here and then going for it. We’re nine months in from when we first took over in July, so I think we’re as ready now as we’re ever going to be.” Baker says the Adelaide Botanic Garden is “100 percent” behind the idea as the restaurant had to get approval from the Garden before proceeding with trying to amend their liquor license to allow after-dark service. Since taking over in July, Baker uses arguably the most impressive garden in the country as his kitchen garden, as he not only picks from the market garden but forages in the Botanic Garden every morning, so much of the menu is literally from garden to plate. Baker hopes a new dining crowd will discover the restaurant with a dinner service, which he says will have a degustation focus although that will not be the only option. “We sell a lot more degustation now; the restaurant never really had a degustation option before. That will be our push to try and do that with more time to dine than the two hours we have for lunch every day. It will change our dynamic so much. “We don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves with a higher-price menu as our only option because a lot of people are already doing that, so we’re trying to give guests the exibility of two or three courses or a degustation.” Baker, who trained under Matt Moran at Sydney’s ARIA and has cheffed at Sydney’s Pello and Regatta’s Bistro, will be a guest of the Noosa Food and Wine Festival in May. “The focus of Noosa is around what we do here. It’s all about sustainability, local producers, eating what’s around you, and just having a think about what you’re putting in your mouth.” botanicgardensrestaurant.com.au