Culinary Director Angel Fernandez smiles at us as we meander past the open kitchen on our way to the fully stocked upstairs bar where smoky mezcal cocktails awaited. Rows and rows of exclusive wine and spirits line the benches eight deep, bar staff at the ready to create anything you can dream up. The luxurious interior design of the restaurant by Charlotte Spary creates a sense of opulence from the moment we enter. Velvet tub chairs gather around small tables, plush stools line the marble bar, and banquettes tuck into the corners; spaces for lots of groups to chat and cheer each other on. A waiter circles the room with a platter of oysters complemented by an apple-cucumber mignonette.
Dinner at Botswana Butchery is an extravaganza. We came hungry and were not disappointed. The table is served sourdough with a smoky butter and then the first raw dish arrives: King Salmon smoked, thinly sliced with labneh on a sliver of zucchini pickle. It's melt in the mouth stuff that has us all deciding we'll be trying to recreate that dish at home.
Next, we receive a Hiramasa Kingfish, lightly cured and torched, with eggplant relish and a burnt orange dressing. Smoky is the order of the day and our table agrees that we are here for it!
Entrees are next. I have a delicious meat free alternative for this one ( a chickpea flour pancake adorned with winter root vegetables) but the others have pork jowl with grilled squid and spiced pear. More satisfied groans
The main meals were my favourites - the Roasted Blue eye trevalla with mussel saffron butter and the Roaring Forties slow-cooked lamb whole shoulder. Others had O'Connor rib eye and Stone Axe oyster blade wagyu, with no complaints from any corner. The duck fat roast potatoes and the salad helped to balance the meal somewhat and I would definitely recommend ordering at least one salad when you dine here.
When the flourless jaffa cake with chocolate ganache and buffalo milk ice cream comes out, followed quickly by a fig and mascarpone chaja (a sponge, mousse, meringue type thing), you'll be feeling just healthy enough to tackle them.
Remember the second stomach that cow's have? You'll need it for the finale; the cheese platter. Served with honeycomb, quince paste and hand-rolled lavosh, the selection of cheeses from around Australia are handpicked and irresistable.
The wine selection was mostly New Zealand varietals. A Mumm from Marlborough, a spectacular Wooing Tree Blondie - a white Pinot Noir from Central Otago, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Pinot Noir. Another surprise was the Serengale Merlot from Beechworth in Victoria. Sommelier Piers Haszard tells us that he likes to go to small wineries that have a good story behind them.
Officially, the restaurant opens on May 24, 2022. Unofficially, you can book straight away via this link.
Botswana Butchery is all about showcasing the very best produce from both Australia and New Zealand, from meat, game and seafood to the wines. CEO, Russell Gray, told me that all the meat they find in Australia is "sensational" so there's no real need to import any although they do make an exception for the Hapuka from New Zealand and the Greymouth whitebait.
With its ultra-plush sophisticated décor, Botswana Butchery offers its customers an elite yet fun dining experience. Backing on to 101 Collins, as they do, the mood is set to be one of premium meals for premium guests.
Botswana Butchery is owned by Good Group, an independently owned restaurant group based in New Zealand with 14 venues – 8 in Auckland and 6 in Queenstown. Good Group prides itself on offering premium 'fun-dining' experiences. The team launched into the Australian market in 2021 with its Botswana Butchery in Sydney.
Botswana Butchery Melbourne is located on the corner of Flinders Lane and Exhibition Street, with entrances on Flinders Lane and via Collins Place.