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Byron Shire
May 26, 2024

Love and Light

Latest News

Surfing on the spectrum – free fun for everyone at Lennox and Byron this Sunday

Ocean Heroes will be giving children who are on the autism spectrum the chance to experience what it is like to be in the ocean on a surfboard this Saturday at Lennox Head and Sunday in Byron Bay.

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Amiya and Tusta – Owners with heart.
Amiya and Tusta – Owners with heart.

Matthew Michaelis

So many people have met the owners of Heart and Halo, Samiya and Tusta. I know this because people tend to gush when you mention this hidden and unassuming little Indian-inspired vegetarian eatery in Byron Bay.

They usually start with, ‘Wow they are really lovely people’. As a food writer it’s smart to follow the crumbs of appreciation that lead to the off-mainstream eateries like this one. I’ve found many a gem behind bushes, under footpaths and between walls this way.

Heart and Halo isn’t a salubrious joint. I can say that it is generous, and makes you feel strong and always a little happier.

To explain my take on why everyone appears to love this special place, I need to get a bit metaphysical. The couple that own Heart and Halo appear very much to be conduits of energy. The ‘lovely people’ tag is spot on. I believe that somewhere down the line they decided that they liked their fellow humans – very much.

Their special gift to a diner here is an ‘energetic’ sustenance; the food you’ll receive here comes with a sort of positivity and, dare I say, love and light.

Daily buffet of light-filled foods.
Daily buffet of light-filled foods.

I know, this may place a bit of strain on some of our more pragmatic readers, so I’ll make the statement a more practical one. I believe when a chef or cook is attentive, proud and passionate about their creations, it marks the dish. Whether they know it or not, they transfer their mood to the food. On the other hand, when the kitchen is miserable and off-hand… well, it’s not a difficult concept. We’re all living surrounded by energy in some form or another, be it mobile towers or, in this case, cheerful humans (I prefer the humans).

It’s time to return to Earth for a feed. It’s a wholesome international buffet style in bain marie, a choice of three sizes at the counter: $9, $14, or $18. There’s a heat box filled with warming Indian-inspired pastries, and with organic and gluten-free pizza. The oval dishes are served up any way you’d fancy. Plonked together, or perhaps you’d like to partition – it’s your choice. Dishes are the stuff of Indian staples like dahl; or a pumpkin, chickpea and mustard seed mix; eggplant, pea, potato and whole cumin; salads of fennel, parsnip and pumpkin flecked with fresh herbs; or quinoa and carrot, topped with a pinto bean hummus.

Leftover food is quickly despatched to the Liberation Larder and frozen meals are always available for takeaway too. I’ve eaten the millet Halva with coconut custard here and, although it’s a great dessert, it’s too sweet for my taste. Look on Trip Advisor though and you’ll see that it’s ‘world class’. Personally, my favourite is the fresh turmeric, rice milk, ayurvedic chai they serve here, it’s straight from a boiling saucepan – piping hot. I habitually pair it with a colossal squared-off piece of freshly baked currant and strawberry cake, or whatever the flavour is for the day.

The service is casual and familiar. The music and food is reminiscent of Govinda’s Hare Krishna restaurants. The food is healthy, simple and generous, made with heart, and perhaps you’ll glimpse an aura around the hosts’ heads.

Heart and Halo
Eat-in/takeaway, 8am–8pm Mon–Sat. 4/14 Middleton Street, Byron Bay, phone 6685 6685.

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