In Food + Drink

In-House Dining: Five Delicious Australian Hotel Restaurants

Gone are the days when you would check into a luxurious hotel only to slink out in the evening to avoid eating at the restaurant. How things have changed. Nowadays travellers and stay-cationers are overnighting at hotels specifically to dine in-house.

From chefs deliberately moving their popular restaurants into hotels to hotel restaurants leading the way in sustainability, hotel dining has officially hit the next level. So, to help you find some of the best examples on the scene, here are five of Australia’s best hotel restaurants.

Harrison’s by Spencer Patrick, Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Port Douglas

Image: Harrison’s by Spencer Patrick

If you can pull your eyes away from the glittering lagoon and palm-fringed paths surrounding Harrison’s at the Sheraton Grand Mirage, you’ll be rewarded with a menu highlighting some of Australia’s best produce in a space that feels very much like a seaside restaurant in Europe.

It’s a big call, but British-born executive chef Spencer Patrick who was the youngest chef to receive a Michelin star and who was part of the team that delivered three star Michelin status to Marco Pierre White, has created stunning dishes featuring exceptional local ingredients on his modern European menu.

Expect dinner dishes such as crayfish with browned butter, cauliflower and guanciale, and for lunch a fritto misto of prawns, calamari and white bait dusted with turmeric and served a squeeze of lime.

And desserts haven’t been forgotten. Patrick draws on his fine-dining background to modernise traditional English dishes, so it’s not unusual to find the dessert menu featuring dishes like marmalade soufflé with buttered toast ice cream or ‘Treacle Tart’ish’ with brown butter ice cream and praline.

Collins Kitchen, Grand Hyatt Melbourne

Image: Collins Kitchen

Inside one of Melbourne’s most prestigious hotels is a secret. Rather than a stuffy, old-school restaurant that you may associate with a hotel of this calibre, you’ll find Collins Kitchen – an award-winning restaurant that collaborates with local food icons for seasonal pop ups.

From hosting residencies with the Burn City Smokers to Melbourne’s legendary pizza restaurant Ladro, the pop ups bring a sense of fun and vitality to one of Melbourne’s grandest hospitality institutions.

Menu highlights from the current season of Ladro make use of the restaurant’s open kitchen with a slow-roasting wood-fired rotisserie, but the crowd favourite is the bianco e nero pizza, a delicious pizza with an activated charcoal base, topped with San Daniele prosciutto, cherry tomatoes and peppery rocket.

Hellenika, The Calile, Brisbane

Brisbane is Australia’s dining darling at the moment, and one of the best places to stay and eat is the sophisticated subtropical resort of The Calile (pronounced Kal-Isle). Its understated pastel glamour, plush poolside cabanas and seductive suites are reason enough to visit the city.

But once you dine at Hellenika, the resort’s restaurant, you’ll want to extend your stay to ensure you get to try everything on the extensive menu.

Hellenika is the sibling of the acclaimed Gold Coast eatery, and while the inspiration is Greek, this is no ordinary tavern. There’s a strong emphasis on environmentally sound practices – all the seafood is certified sustainable and the menu changes regularly depending on what’s in season.

You can’t go wrong with ordering, but don’t miss the light, crisp kolokithia (zucchini chips) that have a cult following, the htapodi (grilled octopus) or the ethereally light spanakopita.

Three Blue Ducks, W Brisbane

It’s an approachable, laid back restaurant in a modern, eclectic and luxurious riverside hotel in Brisbane. On first glance, the Three Blue Ducks and W Brisbane may seem like an unusual marriage, but once you dine in you’ll see it’s a marriage made in heaven.

Innovative and quintessentially Aussie are descriptions that fit both ‘The Ducks’ (as they are known) and the W. The commitment to local, sustainable and ethical produce is evident throughout the menu with dishes such as kangaroo tataki with smoked blueberries, macadamia miso and spent sourdough.

But what diners might not know is that the green waste from the restaurant goes into a pulping machine onsite that dehydrates the waste, making pellets. The pellets are then given to one of the farms that supply the restaurant with produce. It’s an impressive move that closes the loop.

Roundabout Restaurant, Best Western, Wagga Wagga

hotel restaurants

Image: Visit Wagga Wagga

It’s big call, we know. But tucked away in Wagga (in a Best Western no less) is a wonderful restaurant called Roundabout. The menu reads like something you’d find in a city restaurant albeit with a regional spin – think Riverina lamb with pea tartare and fermented black garlic.

In case you’re tempted to skip dessert – don’t. The desserts here are Insta-worthy, especially the popcorn praline ice cream with macaron, honeycomb and chocolate.

Staying at the Best Western in Wagga and eating at Roundabout will make you wonder what other country towns might be hiding.

(Lead images: Hellenika at The Calile / Sean Fennessy)

Published 07 November, 2019