One of life's sweetest pleasures is to arrive at a destination restaurant, feast without restraint, and sleep safely and peacefully on site. Especially in Australia with its tyranny of distance.
Top of mind is Brae in the Victorian town of Birregurra, where Dan Hunter and Julianne Bagnato run six chic suites behind their spectacular restaurant, currently ranked number three in Australia. Available only to diners, the rooms complete the ultimate Big Day Out: savour Hunter's $240-a-head dégustation, then retire to rooms of recycled brick and heated slate floors with record collection, wine fridge and bucolic views at hand. (braerestaurant.com)
There's a similar sensibility at Biota Dining in the NSW Southern Highlands where chef James Viles prepares multi-course menus reflecting the region's terroir. Beside the restaurant, a converted motel has 12 rooms for diners - "a resting spot in the grounds of the restaurant," says Viles. (biotadining.com)
Jonah's clifftop perch above Whale Beach on Sydney's northern beaches is hard to beat for meals with views. Order Australian-accented European fare, dive into the phenomenal wine list and then retire to one of 11 ocean-view rooms. (jonahs.com.au)
Bells at Killcare.
Smoked wallaby tartare, shio koji, egg yolk and miso sauce at Provenance.
In the gold-rush town of Beechworth in northern Victoria, chef Michael Ryan runs Provenance restaurant in a former bank and a four-room inn in converted stables. Guests dine on Ryan's Japanese-accented local fare - perhaps Myrrhee goat with miso dressing - then hit the hay in the old barn. (theprovenance.com.au)
There's more Asian influence on the table at The Australasian Circa 1858, a stylishly eclectic five-room inn near the mouth of the Murray River in Goolwa, on South Australia's Fleurieu Peninsula. Chef and co-owner Juliet Michell's restaurant is open only to houseguests, except on Saturdays when all comers arrive for her set menus; the red duck curry with lychees is a treat. (australasian1858.com)
The Australasian Circa 1858.