Bar Botanica has opened in the Distillery Botanica in Erina on the NSW Central Coast. Created by Julia and Dan Hughes (Mr Goaty Gelato), the café bar has brought the ‘The Fragrant Gardens’ back to life with a menu of simple garden-to-plate dishes, freshly-roasted coffee and Mr Goaty’s gelato and sorbet.

Dan Hughes previously worked at the Three Blue Ducks’ Bronte venue before turning his hand to gelato. Mr Goaty Gelato has been churned and produced from the Distillery Botanica for the past two years, with flowers and botanicals from the garden making their way into many of the signature flavours.

Bar Botanica sits alongside the Distillery Botanica gin distillery, which produces Moore’s gin and liquors along with Mr Black espresso liquor.

Housed in a rustic 1970s mud-brick hut, the café has been given a fresh look with hand-painted botanical motifs by local artist Nicole Berlach and interiors designed by another local outfit Stewart & Highfield.

Bar Botanica’s casual dining is themed on an ‘elevenses’ concept, an old English term referring to a light snack taken at eleven in the morning.

Hughes’ has experience working in Michelin-star restaurants and as a private chef across the UK and Europe. His English upbringing and classic French chef training has influenced the menu, as has the fresh seasonal produce grown in the garden and the gin made at the neighbouring distillery.

Menu highlights include a chicken liver parfait with Distillery Botanica blackcurrant liquor; a traditional ploughman’s lunch incorporating a Moore’s Gin-spiked cheddar crafted from local producers Little Creek Cheese; garden-marinated olives; a chicken with tarragon and mustard leaf sandwich; seasonal salads; and 14 house-made flavours of gelato and sorbet along with daily baked pastries, tarts and cakes with house-made preserves and accompaniments.

Coffee is roasted on-site from the same Mr Black specialty coffee beans.

Once the café is licensed, Distillery Botanica gin, Hunter Valley wines and local Six String beer will also be on offer.

Bar Botanica is open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am until 4pm, located at 25 Portsmouth Road, Erina.

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