Our understated country waitress is effortlessly beautiful. She gestures casually out one window to show where the 2014 Logan Sauvignon Blanc ($12/glass) comes from, then the other to indicate the origins of the Pressed Duck ($36) with lentils and heirloom carrots. If we hadn’t guessed from picturesque grapevines, her nonchalant answer certainly reminded us we weren’t in Sydney anymore. Surrounded by a food bowl, Chef Shaun Arantz employs symbols on his menu to indicate dishes using more than 75% local produce – it’s buy-local on a whole new level. Throw in quality art, showcased in a beautifully decorated room, and you start to get the impression that country life doesn’t have to be rustic. Modern techniques used in beautifully presented dishes like Textures of Corn ($25) and Potato, Leek, Onion ($25) help solidify this. The former combines sweet corn and ginger puree with burnt corn, corn crisps, slow cooked egg, farro, sautéed cubed potato and wood ear mushrooms without losing the integrity and simplicity of the key ingredient: corn. Heaped pork rillettes prove the highlight of the generous Charcuterie Board ($25). Finish frosty green Apple ($18), cucumber, honeydew melon and sweetened goat’s cheese, a dish that will cleanse your palate and probably turn your mind to grapes – ideal with so many Orange wineries on your doorstep.
42 Lake Canobolas Road, Orange
Ph: (02) 6365 3275 racinerestaurant.com.au
Modern Australian $$$$