Restaurant review: Zin House

EVER CHANGING: The six-course menu features simple food created from what's in season and grown locally.
EVER CHANGING: The six-course menu features simple food created from what's in season and grown locally.

WHEN Kim Currie first opened The Zin House on David Lowe's Mudgee winery, she wasn't sure everyone would "get" it.

Open only for leisurely weekend lunches, The Zin House has a straightforward philosophy: cook simply, cook from scratch and cook local.

The six-course menu changes from week to week based on what's in season.

So one week you might be tucking into a lamb shoulder, slow roasted with Mudgee balsamic and served with parsnip mash, and the next roasted pork belly with pumpkin, spiced spinach and pomegranate.

"What I've done for at least 25 years is support regional producers and . . . local food so it wouldn't even occur to me to be putting seafood on the menu or doing things that are out of season," Currie says.

"I was prepared to do that even if not everybody got it, so I'm absolutely delighted that people appreciate that."

Zin House, Mudgee, NSW

Zin House, Mudgee, NSW

Much of what's on the menu comes from what's flourishing on the property, which produces everything from herbs and lettuces, to blood oranges, rhubarb and figs, to orchards full of stone fruits.

They have their own beehives for honey and hens for eggs. And they make their own pasta, puff pastry and ice-cream.

"We're expanding every day what we grow here, but I always want to support local producers as well," she says.

So The Zin House also looks to the local area for hazelnuts, olives (Edrom Olives) and free range pork products (Putta Bucca Meats) among others, for speciality produce.

It's also very much a family affair.

If you order an espresso after lunch, it's made with coffee beans Currie's son roasts and blends.

Her other son owns and runs the sheep, while you can catch her daughter helping out on the restaurant floor.

"And the cattle belong to David [Lowe]," Currie says, adding, "and that . . . is the really great partnership in all of this, is that David, who's my partner, makes the wine and grows the grapes that we can partner with the food."

Locals and tourists alike have been treating themselves to lunches at The Zin House since they opened their doors in April.

Lunch will set you back a reasonable $75 for the set six-course menu (you will leave very full) with an optional wine choice for $25.

Currie writes on The Zin House website there are "no foams, no droplets, no drizzles, no smears, no deconstruction, no stacks, no tweezer arrangements. Just real food cooked freshly."

Currie, who established the farmer's markets in Cowra, Orange, Mudgee and Bathurst, says it's wonderful to see cooking locally and seasonally isn't just a novelty any more.

"It's been such an ongoing trend in the work that I've been doing for so long, that it's actually just really nice to see it become mainstream," she says.

"It needs to be mainstream and not something that's elitist or a fashion or just for people who can afford to do it. It should just be a way of life."

The Zin House is open Saturday and Sunday for lunch. Phone: 6372 1660.