Stage one of what has been dubbed as chef and restaurateur Shannon Bennett's “Shannonland” is now complete at the historic Burnham Beeches estate in Victoria's beautiful Dandenong Ranges.

The Piggery Café, situated in the property's restored stables and piggery - and adjoining Burnham Bakery - are the first businesses to open as part of Bennett and business partner Adam Garrison's grand plans for the 23-hectare property.

Bennett and Garrison's vision for the property will see the Art Deco mansion restored and transformed into a six-star retreat of luxury accommodation including a day spa, restaurant, pool, rooftop croquet lawn and bowling alley.

“I want everything on the property to be renewable and sustainable from the design to the fruit and vegetables in the gardens to the bread in our bakery - our vehicles are even powered with used cooking oil.”

“We're trying to make Burnham Beeches unique internationally by doing all this and finally providing Australia's first and only six-star luxury boutique hotel,” says Bennett. 

In the meantime visitors can enjoy phase one of Operation Burnham Beeches with crusty sourdough and superb pastries from the bakery, and dine at the rustic Piggery Cafe, where breakfast menu choices include 'The BBB': slow-cooked pork, bacon, fried egg, brioche ($16). 

Luncheon dishes such as Flinders Island lamb korma pie ($24) and Blackmore Wagyu beef burger ($12) have diners heading for the hills, as does the Piggery's afternoon tea of savoury creations, scones, and a seriously decadent selection of sweet treats (from $25 per person).

While a 500-tree trufferie, vegetable gardens and an emu enclosure have already been established, plans are also afoot for Australia’s longest chicken run, a 16-cow automated dairy, steakhouse and microbrewery at Bennett and Garrison's expanding oasis of fine food and hospitality.

For a taste of the Piggery Café try making your own Burnham Beeches Emu Sponge Cake

History
The Burnham Beeches mansion and surrounding gardens were built by Alfred Nicholas who, with his brother George developed Australia's first aspirin the Aspro, registered in 1917.

The Nicholas fortunes grew from headaches: by 1929 Alfred had purchased land to build a three-story mansion in the fashionable Streamline Moderne style complete with its own cinema and lift, and develop extensive woodland gardens featuring terraces, rockeries, waterfalls and a tranquil ornamental lake.

Today the magnificent Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens, where colourful rosellas flit through the trees and ducks glide across the lake, is among Victoria's horticultural treasures.

FACT FILE

  • Burnham Beeches is situated at 1 Sherbrooke Rd, Sherbrooke
  • Open from 10am to 5pm Monday to Friday
  • 9am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday
  • No reservation or booking required
  • Lawn bowls available to book $40 per lane per hour
  • Croquet is available to book at $20 per court per hour 
  • Bocce is available to book at $20 per court per hour
  • More at piggerycafe.com.au