After our lovely stop over in Bathurst we arrive in the afternoon at destination Orange. We stop off at the visitors centre for some maps etc, I do love some vineyard maps and we then make our way to our accommodation. We are staying in the centre of Orange at a property owned by Apartments on the Park. They own more than one property in different locations close to town. I should have made a note of the number of the property we were staying at but completely forgot, so I asked Miss Wallflower to use her phone to look up the address. She gave me the house number and we headed to that address. We had been told that the keys would be in the letterbox. So I bounded up to the front gate and attempted to locate the letterbox, but I couldn’t find it. So I opened up the gate to have a walk around the vernadah and see if I could find where the keys had been secreted. Miss Wallflower finally did locate the letterbox but couldn’t see any keys in it. As I peered through a window in the hope of figuring out the mystery of the elusive keys, I noticed that there was an unmade bed in the front room with personal items on it and suddenly it dawned on me…we were at the wrong address! Without making a sound I tried to creep away and gesture to Miss Wallflower to evacuate immediately lest we be spotted loitering… Then a gentlemen came to the door and asked us if he could help us. At this point I would have been happy for a giant hole to open up and swallow me whole. Instead of confessing our mistake, I initially tried to kind of wave him off like some non-English speaking tourist as I crept away, a vain attempt to make a stealthy exit. Finally I confessed and hoped he didn’t think I was a complete bimbo. It turned out he was the son of the owner of the property I was looking for and he gave me directions on how to get to our accommodation. His father dropped around later to make sure we settled in ok, while I continued to apologise profusely for our intrusion.
The apartment is not so much an apartment but more like a cottage or house. It has 3 bedrooms and a bathroom including a bath. It claims to have two toilets which is a little misleading as only one of those toilets is located inside and to be honest I don’t think outside toilets in this day and age can counted into the overall description of bathroom amenities. The house has had some renovation work done and is nicely furnished in a vintage style, without being to kitsch.
There is an ensuite currently being installed in one of the bedrooms which looks like it will be well-appointed with an additional toilet and shower. What struck me the most about the place was the size. It is probably bigger than the terrace I live in and the kitchen is certainly much more spacious. The gardens are beautiful and there is a lovely paved courtyard that would be perfect for some outdoor dining if the weather permitted. We very much appreciated the electric blankets and despite my early reservations, the heaters were very efficient. The house suited our purposes and the only criticism I would have, was a lack of attention to detail in the cleaning. Now I must confess I am slightly anal about having my house tidy but I don’t judge others by my standards…most of the time. There were clearly portions of the house that had not been dusted in some time. Tops of towel rails were covered in a well established coat of dust as were the inside of some cupboards. Despite this the house was well-appointed with mod cons like flat screen Tv’s, DVD players and a dishwasher, a nice spot to return to at the end of the day.
After unpacking and ensuring that the champagne was cooling in the fridge Miss Wallflower and I headed out for a wander around the town. The parentals who had visited Orange a year or so ago had recommended we try The Union Bank wine bar, so after wandering through town taking note of shops to visit during our stay, Miss Wallflower and I settled in to the Union Bank with a glass of bubbly, just to tide us over while we examined the wine list 😉 The Union Bank makes a point of showcasing wine from the region and you could probably drink your way through the vineyards of Orange without even leaving the wine bar, an all too appealing invitation. The venue is intimate with an extensive wine list and a great selection of sharing plates and main meals. There is a communal table and some smaller tables near the fire. We did see an outside eating area but given the cold we were not prepared to venture outside.
By the second drink, a Canobolos Smith Chardonnay, we start to feel the need to nibble and we order a dip sharing plate. It has three dips. An artichoke and yoghurt dip which was clean, citrusy and tangy, a pistachio and fig pesto dip. This was lovely by itself but was overborne by the other two dips. I felt it was the poor cousin of the three. The third dip was an olive dip with the expected saltiness and a herby bouquet. The dips were accompanied by some sliced bread and some crisp bread which was lightly salted.
We returned to the Union Bank for lunch after some wine tasting on our third day. We resumed our position and ordered some sandwiches and a glass of Belgravia Cabernet Sauvignon. I had a Reuben sandwich which was made with corned beef, Sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and something they called a Russian dressing. The bread was toasted with a generous serve of butter which I always appreciate. Is there anything that butter can’t improve! The sandwich was served with a lightly dressed side salad. The sauerkraut was tangy and zesty but not overpowering, more subtle than the sauerkraut I am used to, a good complement for the delicate and tender corned beef.
Miss Wallflower had a roast vegetable sandwich with rocket pesto and goats cheese. The goats cheese was soft and luscious and not overly grassy or farm yardy. The pumpkin was perfectly cooked and the sandwich contained meaty mushrooms. The only criticism was that there seemed to be too much filling for the bread making it difficult to eat in a lady like fashion. The rocket pesto was not oily and packed some peppery punch against the sweetness of the roast vegetables.
The staff at the Union Bank were friendly and helpful and the ambience during the day was just as welcoming and warm as the ambience at night. A lovely reliable watering hole with tasty, filling food packed with flavour.
Do you like a wine bar and a wall of wine?