Samuel J Fell
In a place like Byron Shire, with its proliferation of small villages and hamlets, along with its history of social kinship and political solidarity, community plays a large part in day-to-day life. The coming together of likeminded people is ingrained in the way we operate, which is something not lost on Brunswick Heads restaurant Fat Belly Kaf.
Run by husband-and-wife team Jake and Danie Davidson, the latter of whom was head chef when the place was known as Fat Belly Kat (the Davidsons took it over four years ago, having also run the restaurant at the Bangalow Bowlo), this Greek and modern Mediterranean eatery is all about fostering a sense of community, people coming together to share food and conversation, whether they live in the Shire or not.
‘Every single culture shares their food at a family table,’ says Danie Davidson on the Kaf’s community ethos, highlighted by a Wednesday night ‘locals’ night, each week featuring a different cultural banquet theme.
‘We’re looking to reach a clientele… like families, older people, we want to cater to all those people… we wanted to come up with something for that approachable price for families, or for couples to come in and have their date night on a Wednesday instead of a Friday.’
The locals nights, which have been running for a few months now, have proven to be a resounding success, filling the place out midweek in anticipation of Iranian, Portuguese, French, Irish, Indian and, most recently, Canadian fare. As Davidson says, it gives her apprentices the chance to try a wide range of new dishes away from the restaurant’s usual Greek, although if it doesn’t work, ‘What I tell my chefs when they come up with dishes and they’re not quite right is, you haven’t Fat Belly Kaf’d it,’ she laughs.
A dish being properly Fat Belly Kaf’d means ‘[giving] every dish that edge of freshness, a point of conversation.’ A point of conversation indeed – we’ve not yet stopped talking about the Canadian slow-braised short ribs, crab cakes and pumpkin-pie cheesecake. Or, having stepped away from the banquet menu, the lamb shawarma, which people travel interstate fo
Jake Davidson runs the floor with a casual and cheery aplomb, his friendliness solidifying even more the community vibe that emanates from all corners of this bright and airy restaurant, which truly is a shining light in a Shire now known for its food.
Fat Belly Kaf Fully licensed (free BYO on Wednesday nights). 27 Tweed Street, Brunswick Heads. 6685 1100. www.fatbellykaf.com