Orange, New South Wales, is becoming quite the foodie’s paradise.
It seems every little shed and shack and around each and every corner there’s someone making something delicious to eat or drink.
We found the truest embodiment of this wonderful new trend when our friends took us to dinner at Fiorini’s Ristorante Italiano. The merest of fibro shacks, the restaurant is on the outskirts of Orange and not much to look at.
It was only our friends’ promises that kept our expectations up.
On the inside, too, things looked fairly low-key. I mean it was homely inside, the chairs were comfortable, the tables well-spaced. Still if it hadn’t been for our friends, we would’ve been expecting nothing more than a nice home-style Italian feed.
The kitchen, which is staffed by owners Patrizia Fiorini and Marina Fedeli, is open-plan and you can watch everything as they work their craft.
Hailing from the old country, these two talented Roman ladies have constructed their menus to take advantage of their strengths. The food not only represents the best of Italian cuisine, but also the best of what produce that can be found locally.
Their philosophy is if it’s not as fresh as it can be, it’s not on the menu. That works for me!
So the combination of intelligent, skilled chefs and the freshest ingredients means the food coming out of the kitchen is excellent yet not extortionate.
You can even BYO your booze too! We started things off with a bottle of Bloodwood Rose. A very fine local drop. We’ve been drinking more rose recently since we learnt that cold climate pinks are not only dry but very tasty too. They’re not the lolly-sweet headache potions everyone takes them for.
Then the food came out.
We shared a couple of entrées one of calamari frito – the fine batter was light and crisp and the calamari was succulent, soft and delicious.
The other was a pot of mussels in a white wine and butter sauce. The mussels were juicy and tender, and the sauce had a beautiful lemon punch to it that cut through the butter and allowed the wine deglaze to flavour the dish.
For mains, we chose a few things – the spaghetti alla frutti del mare was good. Lots of sea food in the mix and the pasta was cooked al dente with a beautiful oil and herb dressing.
We also got a veal schnitzel with béarnaise sauce. The crumbed veal was excellent and the coating was golden and crunchy. The béarnaise, which can go horribly wrong very easily, was fresh and tasty.
Was there room for dessert at the end? There probably wasn’t but we ordered some anyway. I’m an absolute sucker for a good homemade zabaglione, which is egg yolks, sugar and marsala wine beaten over a bay marie.
Perfectly made, the rich foamy alcohol sweetness stuck to the spoon and warmed us from the inside.
Our friends ordered chocolate cake so dense and rich it could have been a Kardashian! It almost defeated our friends. Almost!
As we left the restaurant, which was still full at 10.30, we earmarked this little gem for a return visit. And we can’t wait to go back.
Open Sat-Sun noon-3pm Fri-Sat 6pm-late – in other words Friday dinner, Saturday lunch and dinner, and Sunday lunch.
Fiorini’s Ristorante Italiano
816 Canobolas Road
Tel: (02) 6365 3863
The restaurant does take bookings, and because of the restricted opening hours, it’s recommended you reserve a table ahead of time.
Have you had a great meal in Orange, NSW? Tell us where in the comments!