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FOOD & DRINK

Ten Road Trip-Worthy Restaurants You Should Visit in NSW

These restaurants aren't stops along the way — they're the goddamn destination.
By Marissa Ciampi
June 10, 2016
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Ten Road Trip-Worthy Restaurants You Should Visit in NSW

These restaurants aren't stops along the way — they're the goddamn destination.
By Marissa Ciampi
June 10, 2016
  shares

Sydney may be full of great restaurants, but the food scene extends far further than the city limits. Restaurants from every ethnicity and ethos are opening in tiny corners of small NSW towns, drawing patrons out of the city and into the country. You may have made the trip down to Bowral for a long lunch at Biota, but there's plenty more on offer across the state. These restaurants may be a bit of a hike, but if there's one thing that we'll travel for, it's food — and these ones are worth the trip (and the tank of petrol) alone. So start ticking these regional restaurants off your list and spend a weekend, day or even just an afternoon tasting the best damn food NSW has to offer.

Graze-Willow-Tree-Inn

GRAZE AT THE WILLOW TREE INN, WILLOW TREE

At Graze, they take their meat very seriously. All their Black Angus cattle and lamb are born and raised (as well as pasture fed and grain finished) on their Colly Creek pastoral farm, just two kilometres down the road from the restaurant. Their meat is dry-aged on the premises and the beef cut options — rump, sirloin, T-bone and rib eye ($32.90-58.90) — are all served with sour cream and chives, a topped jacket potato, and your choice of Cafe de Paris or porcini butter sauce. Now that's legit paddock-to-plate steak. The lamb shouldn't be overlooked either, with varying cuts available daily. 

radziamir.mazlan via Instagram

radziamir.mazlan via Instagram

TAMARIN RESTAURANT, LEURA

Leura, Katoomba's classier sister, is an unexpected place to find an authentic North Indian restaurant, but Tamarin is just that. Their samosa ($7.90) trumps any we've tasted in Australia, as does their samosa chaat ($10.90), a smashed and dressed version of the classic. Even their garlic naan is something special, smothered with turmeric garlic, and should be dipped in dal makhani ($15.90), a dish of slow-cooked, creamy black lentils. Try a bit of everything with their banquet menu ($29), which includes an impressively tasty selection of classic options like masala, vindaloo and fish curries. Only one and a half hours out of the city, you can get there and back in the afternoon and sneak a hike in the Blue Mountains too.

Kusina-Canberra

KUSINA, CANBERRA

Okay, so this isn't technically in NSW, but it's certainly road trippable from Sydney (and closer than some of the other restaurants on this list). As of Australia's few Filipino restaurants, Kusina is unassumingly placed in a corner spot in Weston Creek, 13 kilometres out of the capital city. It's down-home, family-style Filipino cooking at its best. Filipinos eat communally, so order a few dishes to share; traditional favourites include sinigang ($16) — a sour soup of tamarind broth — and Bicol Express ($19.50), a spicy stew of coconut milk, chillies and shrimp paste that was popularised in the district of Malate, Manila. The crispy pata ($22), deep fried pork hock with liver pepper dipping sauce, is as big as your head and an undertaking in itself. If you really want to try the range of flavours, pull a sickie and come for all you can eat Monday Madness ($24 per person).

Tonic-Orange

Andy Fraser

TONIC, MILLTHORPE

Tonic's corner location and elegant dining room makes it stand out in the small, simple town of Millthorpe. The menu is seasonally focused, so it changes frequently and showcases a rotating list of local producers. Chef Tony Worland is a protégé of Gordon Ramsay, but, despite his experience, the prices at Tonic are pretty reasonable: $65 for two courses, and $75 for three. The current menu includes braised oxtail with caramelised pumpkin and the Mandagery Creek venison served with lentils, rhubarb and pink peppercorn. Millthorpe's proximity to Orange means their wine list is impeccably chosen, and the staff are ridiculously knowledgeable to boot. This is fine dining that can suit most budgets, and is a top-tier destination for any food and wine fanatic. Make a weekend of it with our guide to eating in Orange

Berry-Sourdough-cafe

BERRY SOURDOUGH CAFE, BERRY

For a little town that is often treated as a drive through, Berry is home to a good number of excellent eateries — our favourite of which is the Berry Sourdough Cafe. As the name denotes, they specialise in sourdough — and it's righteous. If you're looking to grab and go rather than sit down, they've also got a take away spot Milkwood Bakery down the street. Both bakeries have that small town charm but serve food that easily rivals Bourke Street. As far as other Berry eateries go, an honourable mention must go out to the Famous Berry Donut Van just down the road, which serves up mouthwatering cinnamon sugar donuts that you'd steal from a baby if you had to. Expand your road trip to the Kangaroo Valley and go nuts on food. 

Cottage-Point-Inn-NSW

COTTAGE POINT INN, COTTAGE POINT

It's a romantic, classy affair at the Cottage Point Inn. Set against Cowan Creek in an old boathouse-turned-restaurant, this is not your average country drop-in-and-get-on-the-road kind of venue. Executive Chef Guillaume Zika hails from London's Hibiscus and has created a seven-course degustation menu. At $140 per person, it will cost you a pretty penny — but if you're going to do it, do it right. It's a lavish, three-hour ordeal that includes dishes like a citrus Moreton Bay bug covered in lemon hollandaise and a wagyu aiguillette served with ratatouille, sorrel puree and lemon thyme. The menu is balanced and focuses on bright, fresh flavours that add to the delicate decadence of the entire experience.

Flour-Water-Salt-Bowral-instagram

jewlieo via Instagram

FLOUR WATER SALT, BOWRAL

Flour Water Salt has become so popular that this little bakery now has three NSW branches — and all are worth road tripping for. They take their bread very seriously here, which is no surprise considering they named the place after its ingredients. Their pastries and cakes are pretty amazing, but it's the pies you go for. From beef and Guinness to organic lentil and spinach, every bite is flaky, buttery deliciousness. If you're looking for something a bit fancy, they do high teas and picnic hampers for you to take to a picnic spot of your choice. As well as Bowral, you can find them at Kiama and Milton. 

Bistro-Molines-Mount-View-NSW

BISTRO MOLINES, MOUNT VIEW

Bistro Molines isn't just a destination — it's a transformative experience. Renowned chef Robert Molines' rolling hills estate is homage to all things French and the restaurant is at the heart of it. The menu is all about seasonal, local produce, much of which is harvested from their herb and vegetable garden. Start with the duck liver pate charcuterie ($28) and work your way from there. The gorgeous noisettes of venison accompanied by roasted beetroot and blackcurrant jus ($42) is not to be missed, and the lamb kidneys with red wine sauce ($38) is decadence on a plate. If you're too swept away in this fairytale to leave, stay the night at the Little Orchard Cottage — it will cost you, but you'll definitely win some major points with your loved one.

Eschalot-Berrima-NSw

ESCHALOT, BERRIMA

Eschalot is a restaurant of a higher echelon. Located in a historic stone cottage in Berrima, it's a garden-to-plate kind of place. The owners are dedicated to organic, sustainable living, growing as much produce as possible in their on-site gardens and composting their kitchen waste. This dedication shows in the menu, which is consistently fresh, elegant and inventive. The twice-baked goats' cheese soufflé is among patron favourites, as is the smoked walnut crème brûlée. An eight-course menu is available for $110 per person, or one with wine pairings for $165.  Entrees like kangaroo loin sit alongside seared foie gras ($38), and the John Dory is served with crab mash and squid ink. It will surely be your most delectable trip out to the Southern Highlands.

Orgasmic-Food-Byron-Bay-instagram

marie_reeves via Instagram

ORGASMIC FOOD, BYRON BAY

This is one hell of a road trip, but distance is immeasurable in the face of food that is self proclaimed as orgasmic. As the name of this little Middle Eastern eatery denotes, it will have you begging for more. The falafel is so good that they give it out for free, knowing patrons will have one bite and decide it is worth paying for. This is some serious bang-for-your-buck eating, with the naked balls only 70 cents a pop and the half pita pocket just $7.50. If you're a falafel naysayer, the menu has plenty of Middle Eastern favourites like beef kofta and lamb skewers. Byron is a great town, but we'd happily skip it in favour of this food. Is it worth the nine hours in a car? Absolutely. 

Published on June 10, 2016 by Marissa Ciampi

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