Mudgee’s food scene is truly fit for a king. The wealth of amazing restaurants, microbreweries, vineyards and cafés makes this little town the ultimate foodie destination. And a jewel in its crown is the Zin House and its long lunch.
Imagine you’re seated at a table looking out of a beautiful bay window overlooking fields of grapevines. Now imagine you’re being fed amazing food grown in the garden you can also see from your seat.
And now imagine you’re drinking wine matched to all the dishes you’re eating. That wine is made of grapes from those vines you can see growing too.
If you’d told me this was true before I’d visited Mudgee, I wouldn’t have believed you. But it is a real thing.
The Zin House – built on the vineyard slopes of Lowe Winery – serves the most spectacular degustation lunch ever. All the vegetables used in their dishes are grown, picked, cooked and served in a 10-metre radius.
The meat and cheese is all locally sourced too and the wine served is, of course, from David Lowe’s well-established range.
All the food here is really focused on being good, honest fare – the type you’d expect from a country homestead… a country homestead with an in-house master chef, of course!
The Zin House itself has a very relaxing atmosphere. The setting – wide open space with mountains in the distance and rolling hills up to the door – is magnificent.
Inside, the country kitchen furniture, big tables, stacked bookshelves and simply decorated interior put us at our ease straight away. And we love the open kitchen where you can see where your food’s coming from.
We were seated at the communal table in what we presumed was the drawing room before the restaurant was started. I’m often wary of sharing table space with strangers – I don’t want them near my food!
But the table was so big we all had plenty of room. Even people’s conversations were still quite private.
As for the food, the Zin House Long Lunch menu does change weekly and at the whim of celebrity chef Kim Currie, but our experience there was extraordinary. We’re confident that their promise of “real food cooked freshly” is going to be on the money whatever you eat there.
We could even see the garden where the cooks go for veggies to add to their dishes. The Zin House has planted a market garden at the front of the restaurant. It’s amazing to see what’s going into your lunch growing right there. You really can’t get fresher than that!
Apart from the incredible views, great service and a yearning to move in, here’s what we had to eat at the Zin House.
The structure of the Long Lunch doesn’t really change much. It’s a 6-course degustation usually consisting of:
Course 1: bread | butter | oil | olives
Course 2: charcuterie
Course 3: tarlet
Course 4: slow cooked meat | salad
Course 5: cheese
Course 6: dessert | coffee
Of course we decided to do the matching wine flight, which was a very good idea. Our waiter explained each glass and how it suited the food in front of us.
We were presented with the Tinja Riesling, the Tinja Chardonnay, the Organic Headstone Rosé, the Mudgee Blue Shiraz Cabernet (my favourite), the Nullo Mountain Nebbiolo and the Nullo Mountain Late Picked Riesling – all from Lowe’s cellar next door.
Nice as a couple, even better with friends, this meal is probably the best way to spend an afternoon. There’s also no fear of food envy and no need to share any of your dish with anyone!
The Zin House
Open: Saturday & Sunday from midday.
329 Tinja Lane
T: 02 6372 1660
It’s one of those meals Mrs Romance and I will remember for a long time. But that’s Mudgee for you. There’s just so much to eat and drink here.
Here are our other recommendations for the Mudgee region:
What do you think of degustation meals? Do you usually go for the matching wines on a menu? Where was your most memorable lunch? Tell us in the comments!