September 10, 2020 | 3 minute read
On the weekend my partner and I had lunch at Tonic Restaurant, Milthorpe. A delightful little town, located only 250 kms from Sydney, the Orange district is going through a cultural renaissance driven by its emerging food and wine culture.
Milthorpe is one example of this, a picture postcard country town with a main street lined with buildings exuding nineteenth century charm. At this time of the year the trees shedding their autumnal leaves add to the picture.
* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.
Tonic Restaurant is a rare find in the regional Australia, a one hatted restaurant that makes the most of the region’s abundant produce.
My partner and I were in the mood for an indulgent long lunch, a rarity in our busy city lives. She started with the braised wild rabbit and I opted for the goats cheese tortellini. We accompanied these with glasses of the local Cooks Lot 333 riesling and Angullong pinot grigio. The crisp pale acidity of the latter perfectly offset the creaminess of the goat’s cheese and the sweetness of the accompanying fresh peas. My partner said the rabbit and riesling combo worked well for her.
For mains I opted for the duck breast with puy lentils, braised witlof and fig paired with the light and fresh Roaring Fork pinot noir, and my partner chose the Cowra lamb with spiced eggplant, labneh and pomegranate and washed it down with a rich full bodied Mayfield cabernet sauvignon. Both mains lived up to their promise, even if the promised labneh never materialised on my partner's plate (although it was spotted on other plates passing us by).
For dessert we ran with the lychee and rose water vacherin and the chocolate textures, a dish which delivered multiple chocolate treats. Both came as described but I will confess to a twang of buyers regret when I saw the coffee soufflé with caramel ice cream pass us by. Perfectly risen and according to a neighbouring diner full of flavour to boot, this looked a real treat.
We finished the day with a wander through the town shops, including Milthorpe Blue where my partner picked up a mohair sweater and finished up in the Angullong Winery tasting rooms to see what else they had on offer.
If you are looking for an escape from the city and authentic regional produce the Orange district has an increasingly wide range of things on offer, including the charms of tiny Milthorpe.