Authenticity, generosity and quality are the foundations of Kim Currie’s food philosophy, all of which have shaped her 30-year relationship with regional produce and cuisine. An icon of the Central New South Wales food scene, her skills and passion as an advocate, chef and restaurateur recently earned The Zin House a Chef’s Hat.
Step inside The Zin House and you’ll quickly relax into its warm and authentic ambience. Named for the zinfandel vines that grace the property, the rustic farmhouse provides communal seating amongst overflowing bowls of garden produce and eclectic vintage ornaments that tell the story of the area. Look out over the hillscapes and you’ll see the flourishing kitchen garden, and a little further, the historical property of Tinja, the soils of which provide the kitchen with organic and biodynamic produce.
In the summer months, figs, stonefruit and strawberries abound, while in autumn Tinja provides feijoas, persimmons, quinces, chestnuts and walnuts. As winter sets in, it’s time to harvest citrus and forage for field and pine mushrooms, while spring brings an abundance of mulberries and rye corn.
All year round, the kitchen sources honey from the Tinja beehive, fresh eggs from the chooks, and garden herbs and vegetables. Angus beef and Dorper lambs are also raised in the pastures. All The Zin House’s other needs are supplied by local producers: coffee from Yarrabin Roastery, dairy from Little Big Dairy Co, cheeses from High Valley Wine and Cheese and Jannei Goat Dairy, and olives and olive oil from Alto Olives and Rylstone Olive Press.
Kim’s connection to the land and love for the local area shows in her culinary style. You won’t find foams, droplets or any of the hallmarks of molecular gastronomy: it’s all about great produce, cooked simply and beautifully. The five- or six-course lunch and dinner menu changes frequently according to the best of the week’s (or day’s) harvest.
Start with fresh bread made with seasonal ingredients, such as a potato and rosemary bread with house-made herb butter, Alto olives, thyme and hazelnut dukkah and radish with a nettle pesto. You might be lucky enough to sample the duck, pork and chicken terrine with mustard-braised fennel; or the winter tarte tartin with fresh curd, feta and black olive tapenade.
Follow this with Moroccan-spiced lamb, accompanied by a Jerusalem artichoke mash. Finish your seasonal feast with a local cheese selection and a sumptuous dessert, such as a snow apple and rhubarb sponge pudding with Tinja honey ice cream.
The best accompaniment to your meal is a wine flight, carefully selected by Kim’s partner, David Lowe, of neighbouring vineyard, Lowe Wines. He has curated the best of the region, showcasing the most outstanding drops from his own vines and other leading regional vineyards. There are also exclusive back vintages available for those interested in taking a sip of the area’s history.
Kim’s expertise and passion for produce has brought something very special to the hills of Mudgee. The Zin House philosophy constantly connects the kitchen back to the land to provide a beautiful dining experience that not only nourishes, but nurtures.