Lolli Redini in Orange NSW is such a joy I can’t believe that no one in Sydney is doing anything quite like it. The crisp, clean Orange air, warm sunshine and an outside table at Lolli will put you to rights and that’s before the food even arrives.
Trying, a few days before the Orange Food Week festival began, to get a table at Lolli Redini wasn’t the smartest move, but with some last minute luck a Saturday lunch table was available. Life proves once again that it’s about being at the right place at the right time.
Simonn Hawke’s menu heavily draws on the surrounding regions produce and isn’t afraid to throw in ingredients and wines from Europe. Don’t let the pictures on its website fool you. The food is honest food, well cooked and simply presented. No, not rustic but it is displayed with an understated beauty that is devoid of the need to screech “Michelin”. A lot of chefs: watch, learn and repeat.
A few highlights from a proper long lunch included a cheese soufflé starter which managed to balance deep rich cheese with a light deft finish; the roasted hazelnuts made this a dish of the gods. I preferred that to the light but earthy beetroot and juniper cured trout and remoulade with its tangy crunchy finish. But that’s only because I set off in a direction of hearty.
I had beef cheeks so soft that they fell apart merely looking at them and were matched with a horseradish cream, mousse-like in texture. The gratin would have benefited from a stronger sense of garlic but how you extract that much sweetness from carrots I’ll never know – but they did it.
All this was just an entr’acte for the dessert – a pudding menu with some very clever, original ideas. There was simply no sense of sighing that you’d seen the same list of desserts at any other restaurant. Unable to decide, it was just easier to close my eyes and point to something randomly. I ended up with the Turkish delight, nougat & pistachio vacherin with rhubarb sorbet and vanilla cream. It had every texture ever invented on the plate – this was no happy accident, it’s a result of a very talented chef.
All the dishes were evidently well thought through, tested and flavours complementary not only within the dish itself but across the menu. Heck, you probably could have eaten the actual menu at this place and have been satisfied. This place is not just a good meal, it’s memorable. It will haunt you for weeks, driving you to despair that you don’t live close by.
Lolli Redini may seem like a special occasion restaurant given that it’s an easy 3.5 hours’ drive from Sydney, but it’s not. Just get in the car and go. Drive there and eat lunch simply because it’s Saturday and you can.
Lolli Redini – Tasting menu and wine by the glass approx. $110 per person
48 Sale Street, Orange, NSW, 2800
Telephone 02 6361 7748