Do you ever wonder whether a turnip growing in the ground, or a duck waddling around a paddock know their destiny?
If somehow you knew tomorrow that a chef will turn your body into a product of human consumption, how would you like to be served? Skewered? Roasted? Boiled?
Now I know turnips can’t speak for themselves, but as one of the few vegetable whisperers in the world not yet confined to a mental asylum, I speak for my earth-buried brethren. Take comfort that your root vegetable dignity is not slain, but celebrated with honour and gratitude at kitchen of Biota Dining.
Biota Dining is unlike any restaurant we’ve seen. It is located in the mighty Southern Highlands, which suggests the journey is far more treacherous than the reality of an uneventful cruise on the Hume Highway. Once you arrive, the premises is heavily fortified by hedge trees taller than a treant and guarded by two crazy geese squawking a harrowing cry to ward off children. “McDonalds is 2 km away!” they scream. Charged with cold fear, you start to question whether you should keep your booking. NO! You’ve come too far to turn back now and the sun has set. Forward, is the only way.
As you push on, you start to realise what the geese were trying to defend: pristine lawns, manicured shrubbery, a pond and a kitchen garden – all on site. Step inside the dining room and you will also notice the simple furnishings that take a leaf out of an IKEA catalogue – clean lines, natural tones and generous use of wood makes it feel all very natural.
Inspired by nature, it almost seems that every plant and animal component in the dish just wanted to be on the plate. Each leaf, perfectly angled and positioned in natural randomness like a field of autumn leaves. The little things aren’t forgotten here: butter is house churned and I’m sure the staff are robots underneath their friendly skins to boot. Even the fish, pork and duck were cooked to sublime perfection that as you dig in, they secret whisper “this is what I lived for”. Eating here is like watching a David Attenborough documentary, you just marvel at Mother Nature’s work.
The degustation really does showcase the kitchen talent here, and the value (from $88 for 5 courses) is almost un-natural for the quality and skill. I know the animals won’t sob at those prices, because the chefs have done them justice here. Do your part and visit to fulfil their sacrifices for your palate with pride.