Byron Bay Eats

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You've got just one day in Byron Bay - where would you eat?
Recently I was faced with a wonderful opportunity to eat my way around Byron Bay, combined with a healthy dose of exercise in between meals, simply to further stoke the appetite! 

When you are in Byron on a Thursday, the Byron Bay Farmers Market has a delicious stall called The Nomadic Kitchen. I've eaten from their stall a few times when I've visited the area, Michelle and Roberto (who worked in Sicily and at The River Cafe in London) are serving up rustic, Italian influenced, wholesome food, at various market stalls in the Northern Rivers region. Their daily omelette is a gastronomic pleasure, as are their fritters, soups, salads and delectable sweet offering, a favourite being their blueberry pie.

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On this visit to Byron Bay we were there on a Friday and with so many possibilities of where to eat, I did a little research and then deferred to local friends, to be sure we'd strike gold on our plates. We started early with a vigorous walk from the Byron Bay Lighthouse car park down to Little Wategos Beach and then return uphill! The only challenge of the scenic walk down, is the thought of the return journey back up, with plenty of stairs and a steep incline most of the way, it certainly left us hungry. The views by the way were magnificent and the chances of spotting dolpins frolicking, turtles diving and at the right time of the year whales migrating are abundant.

First stop for a late breakfast was a vegetarian cafe with the full hippy vibe, known as FOLK.
Eat Drink Guide Byron Bay describes the cafe this way;
"FOLK Cafe is a popular Byron Bay hangout where you'll get local, organic plant-based fare served thoughtfully on old-school enamel kitchenware, turned wooden bowls and kitsch 70's era ceramics."
For those a little sceptical about plant-based food (which is often the latest way to describe vegetarian/vegan fare) take the plunge and allow yourself to be surprised, breakfast can indeed taste good without bacon or sausage on your plate!
We shared;
Poached eggs on toasted sourdough w. smashed avo, house dukkah, garden greens, grilled citrus, toasted seeds $18
w local organic feta $3.50
FOLK organic buckwheat banana hotcakes w house-made labne, fresh fruits, raw bundjalung honey & maple mint, crushed almonds $18

I spotted at the table alongside us, whilst trying not to stare too much, a rather drool worthy dish;
FOLK rainbow roll w fried egg, house relish, fennel & mustard pickle, tahini slaw, avo, local organic cheddar $15
And passing by our table heading to another table outside;
FOLK nourishing bowl of toasted & spiced organic brown rice, quinoa & raisins, cumin roasted pumpkin, tahini slaw, hummus, kraut, garden herbs and baby greens and a poached googie egg $19 - which had me thinking my plant-based loving husband Mr G, may have ordered that one were he here with me!

House Cold Pressed Orange Juice $5.50
and a pot of House Organic Naturopathic Teas; Wild Woman detox herbal blend $4.50
(I simply couldn't resist the wild woman name!) kept us hydrated. I really loved this place - an oasis, a little out of the way, removed from the busyness that has over-taken the town centre of Byron. On weekends, FOLK is a popular place to be and you may have to wait for a table, but isn't that why you visit Byron Bay, to slow your pace and chill a while!
FOLK is open 7 days ~ 7.30am - 2.30pm - so civilised really!

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Refuelled from breakie, we enjoyed a walk and ocean swim at Watego's Beach, and a leisurely sit in the Autumn sunshine. It wasn't long before I was thinking about lunch and going on a friend's recommendation, we headed to 100 Mile Table Cafe
100 Mile Table Cafe is a dynamic hub for locals and tourists alike with a focus on food that is local, seasonal and sustainable. Our space is modern, industrial and eclectic, focussed around a long communal table and taking full advantage of the sunshine all year round with space for perching at our garden beds. We serve Marvel Street Coffee, Mayde Teas, juices, smoothies, chai and the epic Bucha of Byron kombucha with native finger lime and kaffir lime leaf.  Food offerings change on a regular basis based on the best available produce – bacon and egg butties, chicken and ginger congee, sour yellow curry of fish, crispy pork belly roll with Asian pickles and our popular three cheese toastie with homemade mustard pickles amongst the standard offerings.  

Yes you read correctly; bacon, chicken, fish and crispy pork, meaning we are no longer talking plant-based only food! There were baby focaccia's fresh from the oven gracing the counter and some large chocolate chip cookies still sitting on their cooling rack, tempting us as we walked in the door! Lovely long tables beckoned, a peaceful place to linger in the sunshine and eat some aromatic food with real zest and gusto. A small but smart menu, many of the dishes carrying a subtle asian influence, all done so well.

What we ate - sharing between three of us;
Green Fish Curry $15
Chicken Shawarma $15
Pork Bo ssam $15

And speaking of zesty with the added tang and pop of native finger lime, I loved the; Bucha of Byron kombucha with native finger lime and kaffir lime leaf $6.50 (that's a refreshing drink that's also good for your gut health, for those of you who are wondering!)
Their breakfast congee is also highly recommended, in fact the food at 100 Mile had me wishing I lived just around the corner!
100 Mile Table is open Monday - Friday ~ 7am till 2pm (3pm for coffee).

Image courtesy of 100 Mile Table Cafe

Image courtesy of 100 Mile Table Cafe

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An afternoon drive, some chat and chill time together with dear friends, and before long the question arose 'what's for dinner?' our stomach's now suitably rested and ready to eat once more! Byron Bay town centre was buzzing on a Friday night, people everywhere, overflowing into the street from the countless places to dine. We left the main drag and found our way to another “friend recommended location”, just a short drive out of the town centre for some Argentinian fare.

Located in the new Habitat community development, Barrio seamlessly materialises the Bay’s ethos of effortless beauty, bringing people together with a modern industrial feel that compliments Chef Fransisco Smoje’s Argentinian influenced ethically focused food.

Gourmet Traveller says of Barrio “The culinary force of nature that is Francisco Smoje, working his Latin-inflected elemental magic on the grill with hunks of meat, vegetables and superb seafood. You won't eat a better-cooked eggplant.”

Image courtesy of Gourmet Traveller

Image courtesy of Gourmet Traveller

We didn’t opt for the eggplant, but rather shared;
Snapper & Salted Cod Pie; a fragrant pie with a generous buttery, pastry top $30
Grilled Beef Rib, Chimichurri;
tender falling from the bone beef and a tangy chimchurri {in Argentinian cooking; a piquant sauce or marinade; made of parsley, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and flakes of chilli pepper} used on grilled meat, and served with golden, slightly caramelised onions rings $36
Roasted Sweet Potatoes $10

This neighbourhood bar and eatery is open 6 days (closed Sunday) serving breakfast, lunch, late afternoon sunset menu and dinner. A modern and open kitchen space, the service was super attentive and the food perfectly seasoned. Oh and when the Fish cakes w Mojo Verde landed at the neighbouring table to us, it left me leaving with regret that we hadn’t ordered them too!