The Mitchell Highway has never been a traditional go-to corridor for good produce. But Orange has been working to change that, and is steadily becoming the true heart of the Central West food movement. Now home to a prosperous wine region, established local producers, brewers, coffee roasters and a competitive cafe scene, Orange is not a just pit stop anymore, but a true food-lover’s destination.
Here’s a guide to finding the best spots in Orange to eat, drink, shop and stay.
Four food-conscious locals have come together to make the Agrestic Grocer a perfect example of the best of Orange. Locally sourced produce is the hero at this cafe/restaurant/grocer on the outskirts of town. Badlands Brewery and The Second Mouse Cheese Company operate on-site, and its range of fresh produce and preserves from the area will impress you. Stock up on local honey, olive oil, ferments and preserves and beautiful organic fruits, vegetables, mushrooms and nuts.
If you can buy it in the grocer it can also be served in the reclaimed apple shed that functions as the cafe. With a seasonal menu that changes daily, the best breakfast in town is the green eggs with pistachio dukka and Trunkey Creek ham. Leave room for the homemade crumpets and local jam and Bills Beans coffee.
426 Molong Road, Orange
(02) 6360 4604
This bakery is hidden behind the Woolies car park. Established after the high-demand for Racine Restaurant bread head chef Shaun Arantz working insane hours, the bakery has now evolved to also include all manner of treats. Everything is made on-site and its sourdough is proofed for 48 hours, making it the real deal.
166b Summer Street, Orange
(Entry via Woolworths carpark)
(02) 6361 4234
Located in East Orange, Bills Beans is the original roasting site of Factory Espresso. An array of breakfast treats fills the front window. Salmon and potato frittata; mushroom and provolone toastie (recommended); and Bills’ famous bacon and egg roll with Trunkey Creek bacon and Johnny’s eggs. This place specialises in coffee, with at least 10 choices on offer.
148 McLachlan Street, Orange East
(02) 6360 2858
This decommissioned warehouse is the bright and bustling sister to Bills Beans with an extensive coffee selection. You’ll be competing with the locals to grab a seat for brekkie burritos; local bacon and eggs with homemade baked beans; or the tapioca and coconut porridge with bakery treats. Lunch is a good time to drop by and try a sandwich and check out the coffee-bean roasting Monday to Friday through the viewing window out the back.
135 Kite Street, Orange
(02) 6360 2858
Captain Percy Simpson established the food region in the Central West in 1822, and his namesake is a vibrant bar and restaurant on the main street, featuring a Mexican and Asian tapas menu perfectly suited to a few drinks on a Saturday night.
Roast duck betel leaf, pork dumplings, buffalo wings and soft-shell-crab tacos are the bar snacks to pair with the cocktail and wine list. More substantial dishes include pulled pork, grilled chicken and Southern-barbeque brisket burgers. Have them with a 4 Pines from the tap.
120 Summer Street, Orange
(02) 6361 2400
Union Bank Wine Bar & Dining
Union Bank has been many things over time, but the latest is a swish bar and restaurant run by Nick and Emma Bacon. The bow-tied bar tenders are knowledgeable, and the comfort food ranges from mussels, ocean trout and lamb pot pie, to a one-kilogram rib-eye. Work your way through local reds in winter at the polished-copper bar. In the warmer months, knock back craft beers or locally roasted Academy coffee to the sounds of bands in the leafy beer garden.
84 Byng Street, Orange
(02) 6361 4441
This refined, award-winning restaurant is the jewel in the crown of the Orange gastronomy scene. Chef Simonn Hawke focuses on seasonal, organic and ethically sourced produce that is perfectly crafted into a contemporary French and Italian menu. Her dishes are matched with a well-balanced wine list. Simonn’s benchmark Heidi Gruyere soufflé is an exceptional entrée, and the venison with celeriac puree, and the slow-cooked pork belly with fennel puree and caramelised apples are well worth trying. There is a vegetarian menu and a rotolo of butternut pumpkin with sage butter sauce and handmade pasta.
48 Sale Street, Orange
(02) 6361 7748
Hawkes General Store
This converted townhouse right next to fine diner Lolli Redini has gifts for the hard to buy for. The rooms are full of clothes, toys, knick-knacks, books and luggage, as well as handmade soaps, board games and beautiful, handmade cards and prints.
46 Sale Street, Orange
(02) 6362 5851
Ferment is a wine lovers’ tasting library of the best wines from the surrounding region, and a must for anyone looking to sample the local drop or expand their personal collection. Pick up a picnic hamper and a bicycle (both from Ferment) and roll down to Cook Park for a spot of lunch in the leafy heart of town.
87 Hill Street, Orange
(02) 6360 4833
24 Summer Street, Orange
Orange Regional Gallery
Just off Byng Street, Orange Regional Gallery is an ‘80s architectural masterpiece, with exhibitions from local and touring artists changing monthly.
151 Byng Street, Orange
(02) 6393 8136
Philip Shaw Cellar Door
If you’re taking the Orange wine trail, this handsome cellar door is well positioned to start or finish a day out visiting the vineyards, or on a trip to Mount Canobolas. Sunday lunch (the only day of the week lunch is served here) is an occasion to enjoy chicken pie and pumpkin soup in the original stone buildings and gardens. If it’s education you’re after, drop in unannounced and taste at the bar, or book a table to sample the top 13 in the Philip Shaw range.
100 Shiralee Road, Orange
(02) 6362 0710
The Pinnacle Reserve
Strap on your hiking boots and trek the serene wilderness trails that go from leafy Lake Canobolas all the way to The Pinnacle at the top of Mount Canobolas for a lookout over the entire Central West region.
Pinnacle Road, Orange
De Russie Boutique Hotel
The upmarket de Russie consists of 25 self-serviced, luxury apartments, catering to a wine taster’s weekend away. It’s a stone’s throw from the best bars and restaurants in town.
72 Hill Street, Orange
(02) 6360 0973
The Edward Townhouses
Walking distance from the centre of town, these beautifully fitted-out, self-contained town houses are well suited to a couple’s retreat or family weekend away. The well-equipped kitchen with five-burner gas stove and long wooden table is a prime spot for a weekend dinner party away. **
157 Edward Street, Orange
0447 771 999
Once a magistrate’s residence, this Victorian manor now operates as a traditional bed and breakfast with six en suite rooms in the style of the era. Enjoy the cottage gardens or share a complimentary port with your hostess, Marie, by the log fire.
177 Anson Street, Orange
Black Sheep Inn
A converted sheep shed a short drive out of town the Black Sheep Inn is perfect for small groups or families looking for a quirky weekend away. Looking out across a working farm, the five guest suites all spill onto the main floor of the shearing shed that now doubles as a bar and dining room. Sit by the open fire near the sheep chutes and soak in the country atmosphere.
91 Heifer Station Lane, Borenore
0404 887 849
This article is presented by Central NSW Tourism.