Melissa Macfarlane and Frank Moylan are true trailblazers in the meshing of art, design and culinary spheres. Way back in 2001, they pioneered the gastropub phenomenon and helmed the much-lauded Farmers Arms in Daylesford, garnering multiple foodie awards and setting the bar for quality and innovation in a traditionally underwhelming foodscape.
In 2005 they bought the historic Royal George Hotel in Kyneton, and took it from a tired and largely forgettable country pub to a hatted restaurant with the coolest bar in town (and an interior to match).
A hiatus in 2009 saw them pursue other hospitality projects, including The Crimean in North Melbourne, which made the top of The Age ‘Cheap Eats’ list and gained a cult following with its Eastern European-inspired offering and quirky cold war aesthetic. Around this same time, Melissa and Frank also opened Kabinett Vintage in Kyneton.
In 2019, the pair found themselves taking back custody of their former hospitality business premises, the Royal George Hotel. With fresh ideas and desire to reinvigorate the space they created the Botanik Bar downstairs, doing away with the traditional ‘front bar’ and focusing on an innovative drinks list with a tight bar menu to match. And then along came Covid….
Keeping true to style and drawing on their ability to reinvent, they moved Kabinett into the Royal George and a brand new bar was created in the disused upstairs space. Here Botanik was reborn in 2021 as a purpose-built cocktail bar, complete with a bottle shop specialising in rare and exotic liquor, and a balcony reminiscent of Raffles, complete with abundant plant life and intimate tables tucked into private nooks.