On the foothills of the dormant volcano Mount Canobolas lies the picture-perfect vineyards and rustic, Federation-era houses of Orange. The surrounding area's varying altitudes and cool climate make Orange the perfect home base for produce like hazelnuts, truffles, cherries, figs and, of course, wine. It stands to reason then, that the food scene in this agricultural Eden should be a head above the rest, and just one of the myriad exceptional diners you can find here is Charred Kitchen and Bar.
As the name implies, fire plays a leading role, with much of the menu taking a sizzle on the custom charcoal stove, affectionately named Lucifer. Whether it be a subtle kiss of smoke like on the smoked corn and mascarpone gnudi, or a full-on scorch by way of burnt onion porcini custard eggs, adorably sheltered within a nest and served in their shell.
Kick things up a notch with share plates of smoky, fire-roasted bone marrow and flame-grilled lamb rump delivered to heaving wooden tables direct from the woodfire oven. The talents of chef Liam O’Brien are clearly illustrated as dish after dish take their turn on the unweildy and temperamental flames and coals, working in harmony with a wine list of local drops curated by sommelier David Collins. Though for every hulking Angus steak there are unexpected twists and turns, like the crying tiger with charred beef, burnt palm sugar and makrut lime with chili. The intense characteristic smoke of Charred is contradicted again with the elegant and impossibly beautiful apple granita; an optical illusion of green apple toffee shell that once cracked, reveals a sharp sorbet that's refreshing to the core.
Charred strikes the balance of top-tier fine dining that's anything but intimidating, with wooden stump chairs and unpretentious yet highly refined cooking in the most beautiful of surrounds.