Well, I’m back in Orange again. Already. But the region just keeps providing reasons to return, and this time I’m armed with a strict agenda to only go to places I’d never gone before. And Orange, you both delivered and delighted. Here’s where I added to my list:
The team behind Orange’s original ‘fine-diner’ Lolli Rendini (who is currently only doing takeaway during Covid) has opened a Euro-esque corner bar and noshery called Birdie. Pale blue walls, pop-art posters and plenty of charm, it’s open from morning til midnight, serving up snazzy snacks, cocktails and wine. Plus, it’s conveniently located next to Spilt Milk Gelato Bar (where all nights in Orange should end).
Swinging Bridge Wines //
I know, I know. How could I not have been here yet? Well I hadn’t. And haven’t I been missing out. One of the prettiest cellar doors I’ve seen, a white wisteria-draped awning sits atop rolling green hills, a view that goes down nicely with a few of their wines (which is only $10 for a tasting). We particularly appreciated the football goals set up in the back garden of the house at the bottom of the hill. (Or at least he did.)
Everyone loves cured meats. And what’s not to love when $20 gets you more meat than you can eat. Prepared platters filled with the finest, the guys just told us to take a snap of any slice we particularly liked and they’d sort us out with it next time. So I guess that means we’ll have to go back.
Mad Hatters Drinks Lab //
Apparently these guys applied for a drinks license and were denied. Devastating because it would make for a darn cool afternoon drinks spot. A shipping container packed up inside an industrial warehouse (and currently serving up toasties, potato gems and coffee), they’ve got a portable Prosecco van, piles full of bevvies to purchase (but not drink on site!) and an open courtyard that would go down well with some live music. Come on, Orange Council.
By no means new, Milthorpe has been around for yonks. I’ve driven through it more times than I can count. I’ve just never stopped. With an afternoon to fill, we took the short half hour drive to Milthorpe, on a mission for fresh produce. We thought Milthorpe Providore would have what we wanted, but it seems Covid has prevented many producers from delivering.
Instead a further fifteen minute drive out of the tiny town, along a winding red road lead us to Farmer Doug, famous for his gourmet potatoes. Turning onto his Browns Creek property, led by nothing but a simple sign reading ‘Farmer Doug’, we past paddocks of sheep and a couple of cows, before pulling into his driveway. Eighty-four year old Doug and his wife Elizabeth came out to greet us and help us pick our potatoes. We went with the brilliant and brightly coloured Mightnight Pearls, a peruvian style with a vivid purple flesh, and some ‘Elizabeth’s Choice’ (how could you not when she was right there?). Doug’s spuds are served in the finest restaurants in Central NSW, including Orange’s Charred and Milthorpe’s hatted, Tonic. And now at ours.
I wonder what will have opened up by the next time I go.