As we ventured of it was not until we had driven past the Airport turnoff on the M1 that I could piece together we were heading down the Great Ocean Road – to a still secret destination. Finally after driving through Lorne, he told me we were staying somewhere near Apollo Bay. Over the 20 years we have known each other, we have had many a fun weekend or short holiday at various places along the Great Ocean Road. Certainly a magnificent part of this great country of ours.
Arrival at our final destination revealed a booking at a venue near Apollo Bay, Chris’s Beacon Point.
Dinner on the Saturday night was an average meal – good wholesome winter fare, that was comforting. What stole the show was the spectacular view from our room and the restaurant.
Nearly 20 years ago, during our early days of courtship, Tez took me for lunch at a regional restaurant called Sunnybrae. I recall we enjoyed a wonderful lunch and the setting was idyllic. Regional, old style venue and although I don’t remember the specifics of the menu, I do remember we had a delicious lunch.
Sunnybrae had changed ownership some time ago and a well-known chef from another regional town, had taken over. Some refurbishment and a makeover for the menu and grounds has re-established the restaurant and venue.
Lunch at Brae was our 18th celebratory treat.
At Brae, quite simply I loved the food. I couldn’t do justice to the description of the food that a chef friend recently recalled to me after his visit there which was far more “food knowledgeable & discerning” than anything I could put into words.
But this happy place left another amazing impression on me. It was the atmosphere and service that I was really impressed by.
The décor is interesting (bad word but I mean it in a very positive way). It was simple in some ways and intriguing in other ways. However, it felt VERY comfortable – to my mind, this in itself lends to a greater dining experience.
There were lovely features of sofas near the wood burning fireplace to have a rest between courses or just chill-out for a while. There were some spots to walk around the garden and there was even a very welcoming looking courtyard where I observed the staff got together and shared a meal at the end of service. I like a venue that looks after staff!
All in all, it was a long way from home, but worth the trip. For us it was certainly worthy of our special celebration and we were happy to go away not being disappointed.
Happy tastings … DC