‘Where I Eat’ is a series of stories profiling where Orange’s best chefs like to dine out in the city. This is the fifth one ..
Most people who work in hospitality will testify to treasuring a night off – throw raising five children and running one of the region’s busiest restaurants into the mix and a dinner out becomes a precious commodity.
Tony and Nicole Worland are the owners of Tonic Restaurant in Millthorpe, where Mr Worland runs the kitchen.
When the two are treated to a night with no children or customers to take care of they head out to Lolli Redini, because the ‘institution’ is ‘consistently good’, Mr Worland said.
“It’s a credit to Sim [chef Simonn Hawke] and Leah Morphett [co-owner] that it has been there so long and they’ve been able to maintain the standard and keep it so busy.”
I don’t think there is another regional town which would even come close to what we’ve gotTony Worland
Mr Worland said he tries to have date night at Lolli twice a year, where his “beautiful wife” is partial to a bottle of bubbles and he’ll usually opt for a pinot noir.
When it comes to dinner at Lolli – or anywhere for that matter – Mr Worland said the couple aren’t picky as long as they’re not cooking.
“We go out to talk and to catch up. You know its always going to be good food [at Lolli] ,” he said.
Having trained with Matt Moran in Sydney and a notoriously cranky celebrity cook in London he won’t name-drop, the humble Mr Worland got his start in Orange at Selkirks Restaurant, which once occupied the building which now holds Sweet and Sour Salt.
After Selkirks, Mr Worland moved to Lolli, where he cooked alongside Ms Hawke before opening Tonic in 2003.
“Millthorpe was a lot different back then. The town’s grown and some great places to eat and stay have opened up. We’re kickin goals out here now,” he said.
Mr Worland said between Millthorpe Providore, Millthorpe Corner Store and Cafe, The Old Mill and Cafe and the pubs, the town’s got most bases covered and he said the same can be said for Orange.
“In the last 10 years it’s gone from strength to strength. We’re so spoilt for choice and variety. I don’t think there is another regional town which would even come close to what we’ve got,” he said.
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