Australia Day in Orange, what better way to spend it than with a special lunch at our favourite restaurant in Orange. Starting the day we had a lovely three course breakfast at Black Sheep Inn to line our stomachs before setting off for a quick little wine tour. After a few tastings and purchases we made a quick stop in town for some supplies. Everything was buzzing with the Australia Day Fair at Cook Park and we even experienced ‘traffic’ (a 60 second hold up equals traffic right?) Wineries done, supplies purchased and traffic manoeuvred we made our way back to our accommodation and awaited our chauffeur for the day, a taxi.
5 course menu – $90.00 per person / with wine matching $145.00 per person
- Potato, onion, macadamia, freekeh, ricotta
(2012 Orange Mountain Viognier, Orange, NSW)
- Duck, spiced carrot, salted slaw, chilli caramel, cashews
(2010 Sassy Pinot Noir, Orange, NSW)
- Pork neck, date, mushroom, cabbage, tofu
(2010 Faisan Estate Chardonnay, Orange, NSW)
- Beef, eggplant, confit tomato, cavolo nero, peppercorn
(2011 Swinging Bridge Shiraz, Canowindra, NSW)
- Caramel parfait, peanut, chocolate, sesame, brownie, dolce leche
(2013 Coffee Hill ‘Zinful’ Zinfandel, Orange, NSW)
Given our overeating the entire weekend we restrained ourselves and only ordered the five course menu (and not the seven), and although it may come as a shock we knew we’d made the right choice. To begin we were presented with a cute little bowl, a compressed piece of watermelon with a slither of pickled onion and a fresh mint leaf. Three very different elements, but very carefully chosen. It did all an amuse bouche should do, liven the taste buds for what is to come.
Potato, onion, macadamia, freekeh, ricotta.
2012 Orange Mountain Viognier, Orange, NSW.
The first dish of the five course tasting menu revolved around Em’s favourite vegetable, potato. A dish of cleanly matched flavours. Fluffy hazelnut powder and creamy potato paired quite well with each other, in the opposite textural position were the macadamias and of course the pickled onion was there to round everything out nicely. Light and airy even though it was a potato dish, creamy elements like the ricotta and acidity from the onions made for a well-executed first course.
Duck, spiced carrot, salted slaw, chilli caramel, cashews.
2010 Sassy Pinot Noir, Orange, NSW.
Ah duck, how I love it but it can be hard to find it done well. Luckily for me this was just sensational, such solid duck flavours yet not dry or too fatty. The chilli caramel was a really cool touch adding richness with a hint of spice. The pickled carrot and spiced puree were nice and earthy but I loved the pickle hints the most. Salted slaw comprised of shallot, beans, celery, capsicum, cabbage and cucumber, it all just worked and was the perfect accompaniment to the juicy and succulent duck.
Pork neck, date, mushroom, cabbage, tofu.
2010 Faisan Estate Chardonnay, Orange, NSW.
Coming after the duck the pork must have been a tad nervous but it had no need to be. Quite a different dish to the duck – less big bold dominance and more subdued soothing tones. Soft without being mushy the pork was nice enough on its own but when mixing it with other ingredients it came into its own. Sweetness from purple sweet potato and even more so from date jelly and the dates themselves, as well as earthy tones from hearty Swiss brown mushrooms, kale and tofu cream helped the pork shine. The quinoa was able to soak up all the juices where all the sweet and savoury flavours combined in a really well balanced dish.
Beef, eggplant, confit tomato, cavolo nero, peppercorn.
2011 Swinging Bridge Shiraz, Canowindra, NSW.
One of the draw cards of the five course menu was duck, the other beef. My two favourite proteins in a single lunch, oh hell yes. When it comes to beef there are a many combinations but smoky, salty, peppery and sweet are all high on my list. Smoked eggplant puree was full on and amazing, tomatoes were confit in brine making them big on the salt yet still sour. A dehydrated onion crisp brought out the sugars in the onion and scattered green peppercorns were as you guessed it, nice and peppery. Let’s not forget the steak as it was impeccable, grass fed eye fillet just sung beef and every element on the plate just amplified it.
What is an extended lunch without something to cleanse the palate before dessert.
Caramel parfait, peanut, chocolate, sesame, brownie, dolce leche.
2013 Coffee Hill ‘Zinful’ Zinfandel, Orange, NSW.
Although I am not much of a dessert person when this came out I began to rethink my logic. The hardest part was knowing where to start. Caramel is a favourite so I started with the parfait, it was a good choice, soft creamy and very well balanced in terms of caramel, not too strong or sweet. Rich and elegant the mousse was probably the best I’d had in a long time, the brownie was also rich with dark chocolate without being too dense. Peanut powder had me thinking it would be too much but it was understated making it work well while the sesame ‘jelly’ was super cool in every way. A brilliant dessert well paired with the ‘Zinful’ Zinfandel, full of dark cherries and not overly sweet.
When the petits fours arrived we all knew the jubes would be gobbled up by Em before the plate even hit the table 😉 A friand, biscotti and chocolate cookies completed the selection. All wonderful and perfect with an espresso in hand.
Another spectacular meal and absolutely wonderful afternoon. Three hours disappeared without a care in the world. Such a lovely venue made only better by the people and the food. It was lovely to finally meet Willa, who we had missed out on seeing last time, she is such a gracious host and we wish Willa and Shaun all the best and hope to see them again soon.
Having eaten our way through Orange we headed back to the hotel for an afternoon playing Trivial Pursuit Genus I. Brutal as it may be for those of my generation I am happy to say I totally and utterly destroyed the competition. As the sun went down on an epic Australia Day it was time to crack open some more wine and lay back to watch the Australian Open.
And last but not least HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEX ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! (for the 27th – hope you enjoyed your long lunch)
La Colline Wines
42 Lake Canobolas Rd
Nashdale NSW 2800
(02) 6365 3275