Matt Moran Says These Are the Restaurants and Bakeries Not to Miss in Regional NSW

The Rockley Pub best regional restaurants nsw

Once only known for its wine, Central West NSW has become a foodie hotspot, says Australian chef and restauranteur Matt Moran who owns a venue in the area.

The region stretches from Lithgow to Lake Cargelligo on the Lachlan River, comprising towns Bathurst, Orange, Cowra, Mudgee and Parkes, and smaller centres, including Molong, Eugowra and Forbes.

“Now, when on a trip over the mountain [from Sydney], travellers can expect restaurants with kitchen garden tables, award-winning wineries and Australia’s best ice cream,” says Moran. “The region is known for its incredible architecture. There is a mix of new innovators tapping into the beautiful buildings and opening stunning venues and local pubs on the Central West road trip trail.”

In Central West, you’ll find bakeries for road trip treats, alongside restaurants by chefs from big cities. On the winery front, most recently, Moran says he’s witnessed wineries in Orange expanding and moving closer to Bathurst, spreading the cool climate wine offering across the region. The result, he says, is a dining and wine scene worth travelling for.

best regional restaurants nsw matt moran
Image: Supplied

Moran shares some of the best places to dine in Central West. From a regional pub he bought in Bathurst in 2021, to a place serving what he says is the best ice cream in the state, these are the spots Moran considers the best eateries in the NSW region.

Bootleg Dining 

“From a little hole-in-the-wall coffee shop in Bathurst, Bootleg Dining re-located to a large space and opened late last year as a restaurant in the heart of Bathurst. Be sure to book a table on the balcony at dusk overlooking the park.”


“Tony [Worland], an incredible chef who worked for me years ago, and a mate [Nicole Worland] opened Tonic in 2003. Back then, Millthopre was a quiet little town, now it’s a busy main street with gift stores. Tony changed the town, it’s a must-visit town in the Central West now.”

The Rockley Pub

The Rockley Pub is my most personal project to date,” Moran says. “The pub is operating as we purchased it in 2021. It’s a classic country pub, but we have plans to turn it into a unique country experience with boutique accommodation, a Matt Moran restaurant, classic pub dining and beer garden. Simon Borghesi is leading the kitchen at the pub, select from his chef’s menu or pub classics menu and sit back and enjoy a local wine on the verandah.”

Racine Bakery 

“Every weekend away needs a good bakery stop-off, and you can’t go past Racine Bakery in Orange for that.”

Racine Bakery best regional restaurants nsw
Image: Racine Bakery

Spilt Milk 

Spilt Milk has probably the best ice cream in Australia. You can’t go wrong with their classic flavours: Spilt Milk and Salted Caramel. Order an ice cream, sit on a stool out the front or go for a wander down the main street of Orange.”

Zin House

Zin House is set on a 400-hectare farm in Mudgee. They have a seasonal rotating set lunch menu showcasing dishes made from scratch using produce from the region. Get there early and enjoy a wine in the garden or make time after lunch.”

Antica Australis Carcoar

Antica Australia in Carcoar is a restaurant I am dying to go. It’s not too far from my farm and the pub. I’ve heard incredible things, beautiful homestyle cooking from Central Italy.”

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