We decided to take a quick babymoon (= honeymoon you have before you have your babies) to Byron for a couple of days and had such a great time relaxing and eating some wonderful food. Here are some of our food highlights:
The Balcony Bar and Restaurant, Cnr Jonson and Lawson Streets
We started out our first afternoon here sitting on a couch in the sun enjoying some tapas. Try and get there early to snag a couch, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon. We ordered the Cauliflower and Manchego Cheese Croquettes which were creamy and delicious and Arancini balls made with Goats Cheese and Truffles – crunchy, creamy and tasty. We also tried the Patatas Bravas which were tasty but needed some Aioli (we couldn’t taste the chipotle in the tomato sauce?). Sime tried a Lychee Martini (drinks specials between 4 and 6) and I enjoyed a couple of sips of champers (Domaine Chandon Rose – yum).
Bay Leaf, 1 Marvell Street
Sime and I are already fans of Nico and Linda’s coffee (Byron Bay’s Marvell Street Roasting Company), and have previously visited Bay Leaf and enjoyed it. We both enjoyed a great brekky and coffee. Sime’s brekky was unusual and delicious – a Pulled Pork dish served with Anchovies that he really enjoyed. I had some Ricotta, sweet cherry tomatoes, fresh herbs and a little chilli, a light and tasty way to start our day. Sime tried the Single Origin Yergacheffe (?) beans which he loved. Nico and Linda are great people and very passionate about what they do, and it shows.
St Elmo, 22 Fletcher Street
Thanks to some great reviews on Urbanspoon and Trip Advisor we decided to give St Elmo a try and were very impressed. Good service, nice ambience and some awesome food. We visited on Slow Food Tuesday and enjoyed 3 courses and a glass of wine for $38 each – great value. We decided to share the entrees – Mushroom and truffle croquettes and Potato and Chorizo Tortilla with aioli, olive and piquillo salsa and crisps. Both tasted amazing and were a harmony of texture and flavour (I want Sime to make me the tortilla at home… yum).
For the mains – Slow cooked lamb neck with chickpeas, boiled lemon, and green olive served with saffron rice, pistachios and home made yoghurt, and 12 hour local pork shoulder with poor mans potatoes and Catalan Spinach. Again, two amazing dishes. The pork shoulder was a more delicate, light and sweet dish, whereas the lamb neck was a rich tomato based dish with amazing flavoured slow cooked meat and some great flavour kicks with the lemon and green olive slices. We were also served some bread with olive oil with the mains, and FYI they serve the wine with the mains too.
Lastly dessert – we both had the Hot chocolate pudding with Dulce de Leche, Hazelnut Praline and Vanilla Semifreddo. By this stage I was cursing my reduced appetite (two babies squashing your stomach tends to do that) and Sime was feeling rather full from eating the halves of the meals I haven’t been able to eat. Anyway – the dessert was wonderful. Rich chocolate sauce, crunchy hazelnut praline, thick caramel sauce and a touch of vanilla to tone it down. I have to admit I only ate the outside of the pudding, but that was just so I could enjoy the chocolate sauce.
I’d almost drive the 45 minutes back there to have another one of these dinners – highly recommended.
Asia Joe’s, Shop 1/4 Bay Lane (behind the Top Pub)
I was already a fan of Asia Joe’s Thai Salad with Salt and Pepper Calamari so had to go back and have it again. It was just as good as I remembered – crunchy fresh salad, tart Thai dressing, and perfectly cooked tender calamari. Sime tried the Laksa with Chicken and Prawn and was very impressed with the quality and quantity of ingredients – the variety of vegies in the Laksa was great and there was lots of chicken and prawn (often lacking with Laksas from other restaurants we’ve been to). All this for about $40 for the two of us – yum!
One One One, 1/11 Jonson Street (closer to Woolworths – opposite)
Again, did some research before we went down and read some good things about One One One. Didn’t try to the coffee (we’re pretty much over Merlo) because we had a coffee earlier at Bay Leaf. Great brekky menu – Sime had the Baked Eggs with Tomato Sugo and spicy Italian sausage served with sourdough, he said it was rich (which you’d expect based on the description on the menu) but very tasty.
I loved my brekky of two eggs (fried hard – pregnancy thing), potato terrine, silverbeet and Turkish cabbage pickle with a side of bacon (recommended by the waitress). The terrine was like the leaves of a book – such fine tasty slices of potato – a lot of work went into this dish and I had two slices of it so it was quite generous. The Turkish cabbage pickle was sweet and sour, and the silverbeet was a nice simple accompaniment. I’d suggest adding bacon as well, it was a good suggestion. We both really enjoyed our brekky here – we look for menus that offer something slightly different and the food was great here. Also the service was friendly and efficient.
Other local recommendations
We did ask some locals where they’d recommend we eat – Milk and Honey Pizza in Mullumbimby, and Traditional Thai were two we didn’t get to try but would love to.
Although we both felt we ate too much during our time in Byron we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of food we enjoyed – if you love your food as much as we do there’s certainly lots on offer.