It’s hard to think of a more ‘Byron’ restaurant than the Byron Beach Café; from its all-weather absolute beachfront dining deck you can see surf, beach, dolphins, the lighthouse or sunset over Mount Warning. It’s been an iconic and much loved Byron landmark for decades.
Ben and Belinda Kirkwood took it over in 2007, transforming it with the same flair they had used to create Dish restaurant within the historic Bakery building in Marvell St. They regard Byron’s reputation as a premium tourism destination to be the lifeblood of their business, so they are not only concerned to provide an exceptional dining experience for visitors to the region, but they are also passionate about building a reputation for Byron Bay.
The result is that while locals wander in off the beach and after their morning surf or lighthouse walk, the Byron Beach Café is also the hub for events, weddings and catering taking place both on and off the premises.
They have recently won silver, for the fourth year running, at the NSW Tourism Awards for the Best Tourism Restaurant and Catering Service. The award not only honours the cafe, but also the Byron Beach Cafe’s catering service. ‘We are thrilled to have our catering talents acknowledged as some of the best in the state’, said Belinda Kirkwood, Byron Beach Café owner and weddings and events manager. ‘We strive to make every event unforgettable with our highly personalised and unique approach.’
‘The proactive approach taken by many local businesses is something that we’d like to see grow’, say Ben and Belinda. ‘There are so many outstanding local restaurants and cafes, all committed to providing a fantastic experience for visitors to the region. By working collectively, we can all help to ensure that every visitor leaves a raving fan.’
The Byron Beach Café is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, and has a park kiosk adjoining the cafe for takeaway food and drinks. The philosophy is to offer cafe simplicity during the day, turning into a destination restaurant by night.
As an indication of the menu, breakfast runs from the healthy end such as house goji berry granola with saffron poached pear and natural yoghurt ($16) to the indulgent end. Yes, you can order a glass of Louis Roederer champagne with your salmon gravlax, avocado, sweet corn fritters with roast tomato, rocket and horseradish cream ($22) for breakfast.
The lunch and dinner menu ($19-$36) includes some excellent vegetarian dishes along with a range of seafood such as oysters, beer-battered flathead, seafood bouillabaisse or crispy-skinned snapper, sauté calamari with chili flowerets of cauliflower, pine nuts, wasabi greens and sweet corn puree. You can even get a steak (grass-fed scotch fillet, roast beetroot, fennel and mushroom duxelle with paris butter, jus), or chicken and mushroom pie.
Children have their own menu with spinach ricotta ravioli or wagyu beef cheeseburger with french fries for a reasonable $15. I don’t know any children who actually like chicken nuggets, and they are not on the menu.
There’s an extensive wine list, and if you liked your Louis Roederer for breakfast you can return to quaff more on the deck as the sun goes down over the Bay with Mount Warning in the distance. This is not an experience that is available in other towns, even tourist towns, and the Byron Beach Café’s awards suggest that they have made the most of their opportunity to give locals and visitors something special to come back for.
BYRON BEACH CAFÉ Clarkes Beach, Lawson St, Byron Bay. Ph: 6685 8400. byronbeachcafe.com.au