Spicers Hidden Vale, near Grandchester, a beautiful balancing act.
Just an hour’s drive from Brisbane, this country retreat manages to blend five-star luxury with a down-to-earth country feel.
That rural vibe was front of mind for Head Chef, Ash Martin, when fire claimed the retreat’s historic homestead – including its signature restaurant – earlier in the year.
Staff quickly rallied to create a new home for “Homage” – in the old barn on the property. The unexpected and forced move has given the restaurant a new lease on life – with Ash relishing the chance to create a truly rustic dining experience.
The epicentre of the “Homage” experience is its outdoor cooking station – where open fire, coals, smokehouses and other ‘primitive’ ways of creating flavour have been embraced with gusto.
“Everyone’s going back to the way things used to be,” explains Ash. “You can’t put flavour into food with gas or cooking in sous-vide bags and all those things chefs are doing these days. Wood, smoke, coals, fire – there’s nothing better.”
There’s a distinctly old-world vibe to the accommodation at Spicers Hidden Vale… from heritage cottages to new luxury guest cabins, which have more than touch of the colonial about them – including a veranda tub for outdoor ablutions.
Activities at Spicers Hidden Vale include mountain biking on one of the most complex and exciting trail networks in Australia. Or you can join an ATV tour of the working cattle property, which includes outstanding views from the high country that surrounds the retreat.