December 16 marks two years since The Sun on Bayshore Drive opened its doors. Intended as a ‘local’ for the Sunrise Beach and Byron arts estate communities, the recycled timber-and-glass pavilion-style building is quite deceptive from the street. It’s enveloped on the north and west with timber decks that spill down to an outdoor terrace and mounded grass garden, which then backs onto stunning coastal heathland. Tucked into the reserve surrounded by green, it’s easy to feel that you are a world away.
This feeling is assisted by large garden artworks – the magnificent yellow Sun Seat from Suvira McDonald and Susie Olsen’s ethereal Hands to the Heart mosaic installation.
This northern end of Byron Bay is alive and kicking. The calibre of shops, galleries and art studios in the arts estate is world class yet the vibe remains laidback. ‘We’re busy most of the time, which is great’, said The Sun assistant manager Mialii (or Mouse as she’s known to the patrons).
‘We have our local regulars and quite a lot of our customers come from the outlying towns. I guess it’s easy, with free parking, and people like to be outside in nature. It’s pretty magical on the deck and the new outdoor terrace area is bringing adults out into the garden. We’ve installed locally crafted timber seating with shade next to the grassed hills where the kids run and play.’
The Sun offers a rare paradise for children, with the outdoor play area as well as a covered playground on the deck. And the $8 children’s menu includes healthy options that are not fried and don’t include potato chips. Hallelujah to that.
New head chef Joel Phyland attributes his passion for Mediterranean flavours to his Croatian heritage. Joel’s take on the Niçoise Salad is a sensation – 72-hour house-cured salmon, green beans, soft-boiled egg, baby chat potato, cherry tomatoes and olives for $22. Or perhaps try the Crispy Skinned Pork Belly slow cooked in cider for eight hours with roast baby fennel, shaved apple, roast pecan and endive salad, hot apple sauce and gravy for $25.
Joel’s new summer menu includes locally caught fish-of-the-day specials and housemade desserts including his popular ice-creams. And the great thing about The Sun is there are always – always – a range of $12 main meals.
The Sun Bistro, 61 Bayshore Drive, Byron Bay. Ph 6685 6500. Open – 11.30am–9pm 7 days (Christmas Eve and Christmas Day hours may differ).