Great southern eats – new additions to the Byron Bay dining scene that you need to try
While 2017 was a stellar year for the Gold Coast dining scene, our pals down in Byron Bay were enjoying some new-found deliciousness of their own. If it’s been a few months since you’ve ventured south of the border, then here are a few reasons to take action. From Chinese alleyway hangs serving bowls of delicious char siu to open-air Spanish eateries, here’s our picks of Byron Bay’s newest foodie additions.
Tucked away in the Bay Lane strip (behind the Top Pub) is new Chinese eatery DUK – the latest venture from Sarah Swan and Jeremy Burn from 100 Mile Table. If you love great food and also appreciate simplicity, then DUK will be your kind of hang. In the kitchen you’ll find chef Ryan Bussey, the former head chef at Three Blue Ducks at The Farm, who serves a concise menu of roast duck, soy chicken, roast pork, char siu and fried tofu, all designed to share between two or four. If you’re not into sharing, then the same mains are offered in a ‘bowl for one’ atop steamed greens and rice. Throw some twice-cooked eggs with chilli salt and some Chinese pickles on the side with a glass of Jilly wine and you’ll be set.
Light Years opened its doors in September last year, also in Bay Lane, exposing the precinct to everything from fragrant pho and fresh vermicelli salads, to tasty bahn mi and vibrant rice paper rolls. Yes, Light Years is a Vietnamese restaurant, but you’ll also find elements of Thai, Chinese and Japanese flavours dotted across the dishes. This refreshing take on traditional fare is driven by head chef Robbie Oijvall, formerly of Bondi’s China Diner, who has curated an offering that is fast, fresh and jam-packed with flavours.
Barrio Eatery + Bar
Barrio Eatery + Bar is the latest venture from Harvest owners Tristan and Kassia Grier, who have teamed up with Dan Wyllie (of New York City establishments Flinders Lane and Saxon + Parole) and renowned chef Francisco Smoje (from Byron Bay pop-up restaurant Francisco’s Table) to create the new space, which forms part of the newly opened Habitat community, a mixed-use village which lies near the Byron Bay Industrial Estate. An Argentinian wood-fired oven and charcoal grill heavily influences the Barrio menu, allowing chef Francisco Smoje to create flavour-packed share-style dishes that give a respectful nod to culinary traditions whilst swaying from convention with bold flavours. With an ethos of ‘conscious eating’, the kitchen has adopted a nose-to-tail and root-to-stem approach, delivering a vibrant menu that will change weekly.
Hogs Breath Cafe has gone from Jonson Street and modern-Asian eatery and bar Ryce is now in its place. There’s a real east-meets-west foodie vibe here, with complex and modern flavours woven through a concise menu of snacks, raw dishes and share plates served from lunch time through to the evening. Ryce’s mouth-watering menu sits alongside an expansive cellar list that’s dotted with organic and biodynamic varieties, and a well-curated selection of cocktails. Get your eyes on the snacks menu with flavoursome options like the taco with tuna, kaffir lime, black sesame, ginger and chilli, or the pillow-soft bao brimming with Moreton Bay bug, chilli, coriander and sriracha mayonnaise. Get your lips on the Tuk Squeak cocktail with gin, ginger, turmeric, honey, soda, beetroot and a vermouth foam.
Sooo, why not make a weekend of it?
Stay at The Bower, a renovated boutique property on Byron Bay’s Bangalow Road, which is the latest luxury accomodation offering in the Byron Beach Abodes stable. While you’re there, take the relaxation to new levels at Comma – a delightful modern day spa with a difference. Get get some retail therapy at the new Habitat stores, a pop-up at the newly opened Habitat community, where you’ll find all of Byron Bay’s best lifestyle and fashion names under one roof. Oh, and you should totally tie in a tour of Cape Byron Distillery (the makers of Brookie’s Gin) and hunt some juniper berries in the rainforest.
The Stumble Guide is our comprehensive Gold Coast dining guide with more than 350 places to eat, drink, shop and play.