I was driving through laid-back Lennox Head recently and thought I’d take a detour to a pristine stretch of sandy beach.
The thing with seascapes in the northern rivers area is that they all slightly differ from each other and have their own shape and beauty. So, I was intending to survey the beach frontage here. I admit I was a little lost at one point (I know, it seems impossible), not lost without a clue lost, but disoriented – not in familiar turf – lost.
I had nowhere in particular to go in Lennox, so I drove the length of the beach and wound up driving to the northern end of Pacific Parade.
As I drove, I passed a trio of eateries, two sitting in breathtaking locations. These had front-row seats to the stunning lapping shores and in the case of the Bombora cafe lounge, access to the beach was just a road away.
Locals all know the street I’m referring to and no doubt the foodies know the food places I’m talking about. The newest acquisition being Bombora at Lennox, then the light, airy and well placed Foam restaurant. And cornering the market right on the joining of Pacific Parade and Byron Street is the Lennox Hotel.
Now, at this point, I felt like Goldilocks and her three bears home invasion. Which one should I try: should I go the cafe style and put my feet up? Perhaps the slow and spoilt approach at the Foam refectory… Was it too early for the hotel option?
I got out at the Lennox Hotel and had a shooftee about, went upstairs – no-one about (understandably as it’s still only morning). It was Tuesday. I hadn’t planned any of this, but now I wanted to see them all, eat all their lovely chow and potter off home again before witching hour. A little further down the road was Foam, a blackboard in the doorway. I was hopeful, though the sign broke the news… Open from Wednesday, so the only foam I was going to see was already starting at the corner of my mouth along with a building hunger… It was a fait accompli, Bombora at Lennox it was going to be.
The following is a quick observation and a reinforcement of the multiplicity of dining possibilities existing on one street. Three eateries, one Parade and food that’s streets apart in pricing and choice.
What do you get when you cross a civil designer with an Indigenous hip-hop producer and didgeridoo player? A new ‘social experiment’ – culinary style.
The Bombora, in its present manifestation, is casually inviting. Throw cushions punctuate lounge benches, comfy furnishings and a homey covered outdoor area, it’s a come-as-you-are affair.
They serve coffee from 7am and brekkie from 7.30 until 2pm. It’s licensed, so plans are under way for a lounge bistro to lead onto a dinner menu. Tasting plates and the choice of a degustation style selection with wine matching is planned (but that’s down the track a bit): Currently, it’s an unfussy, straightforward menu, reasonably priced for this street.
When he returned he hankered after something new and that’s when the opportunity arose to buy into the street that has so far spawned some great food and establishments.
An additional business partner came along, Lez Bateman, or Beckett as he’s known when performing, and the two are finding their way to what will be an interesting outcome-regardless of the final direction it takes.
I wish them all the luck in the world – in food businesses you need every drop of luck you can get.
Bombora at Lennox
7am (coffee), 7.30am (food) until 2pm, 7 days
Dinner: 6–10pm Fri & Sat
50 Pacific Pde, Lennox Head
I was too curious to leave Foam alone, so we now forward to Wednesday lunch. On first impression, Foam and Bombora are similar in two respects: they’re both licensed and they both occupy houses that existed here before the village gentry supported more dining-out.
The ocean view here is a front row that’s indisputably some of the best ocean gawking you could find anywhere. Let’s not worry too much about the road between and the parked cars; I find that my exceptional brain helps to filter out any of the obviously ugly bits (reality can, like gravity, suck sometimes).
Having spent my youth surrounded by beaches and the fresh sea spray blowing on my cheeks, it’s easy to understand why people flock to eat fine food along this seaside parade.
In the short while since April this year that owners Chris Harrington and Marcus Corcoran have operated here, they’ve rated number 2 out of 23 on the Trip Advisor radar (if that’s any indication); let me be the judge I say…
Immediate consideration was the order of the day here, an introduction and an invite to sit anywhere. When I sat, minutes passed and water was offered; flat, mineral or fizzed and so far the service seemed as accessible as the ocean.
This type of customer interaction displays a hospitality pedigree and intelligence that’s all too often forgotten in restaurants.
The menu had something for any taste and although this isn’t a review, the entree-sized seafood laksa was my thing with a starter of freshly shucked oysters – I ordered only three. The ability to order one oyster or 12 is an evolution I’ve loved from the first time I was given this choice. Oysters are rich and exquisite things – I want the luxury of their delicate flavours, not in volume.
Three gorgeous examples of fresh oysters came with a perfect lemon wedge too…there is a god I thought.
I think you get the idea: impressive, tight and intelligent eating you’ll find at Foam. I always say, don’t go to a nice eatery when you’re starving, savour what they’ve got on offer.
I’ll certainly be back to Foam for a full review soon – stay tuned.
Breakfast/lunch: 7.30am–3pm Wed–Sun
Dinner: 6pm–late Thurs–Sat
41 Pacific Pde Lennox Head
I have to tell the story and confess to a terrible faux pas of mine (they seldom happen – ha!) I’d written a feature earlier this year on most of the hotel dining rooms that were of any consequence to their loyal locals, and quite by accident, I didn’t write-up the Lennox Hotel.
I imagined the good folk of Lennox would have a beef with this foodie, so it’s kind of been a shadow on my delicate conscience since.
So, here we are now cornering the market on Pacific Parade and Byron Street, the Lennox Hotel all polished and appealing and its Beef + Beach Restaurant upstairs, on the corner of my Parade story, all in all, it’s an easy recommend for its location alone.
Not only does this hotel house a balcony restaurant, function rooms and cocktail lounge, but they all exist with uninterrupted breathtaking views of the beachfront that I’ve been rabbiting on about.
I’ve been the judge for the Australian Hotels Association Awards For Excellence for five-, four- and three-star hotels and pubs in NSW.
This hotel is a smart and curious mix of a functional clean and tasteful pub downstairs with all the bells, and a four-star well-dressed and nicely furnished restaurant upstairs.
This is some of the hardest hospitality to pull off. It requires a tightly controlled and maintained system and order of service. Smart and sentient staff would be the order of the day I suspect, but alas, I was here too early to get a fix, so I came back that evening to see it in action and for a quick look at the meals.
When I entered the eatery I was wandering and it took only minutes to be approached and set at ease by floor staff. A few minutes more and Troy Lister appeared in front of me introducing himself.
I quickly learnt that Troy was the guy behind all of this quality refit, food and service structure. Along with good management from trusted others, he’s the man behind the reshaping of this eatery.
Being an opportunist as I am, I accepted his offer to join him and was given a tour of his passion, the menu. This is a voluminous menu with quality wines, meats, seafood and other inclusions on offer.
We spoke at length about the origins and quite frankly the extent of in-house preparation that’s on hand. The service alone I would spruik as it goes with the firm pricing along with high-quality plating. I stress again that I wasn’t here to review, just observe. I will say though that I sampled some fine meals, including a perfectly cooked porterhouse steak.
Having spoken to the captain of this hospitality ship, I can trust that you’ll be given what you pay for here: quality, service and atmosphere.
I’ll be back and rest assured you’ll get the good oil on the event.
Beef+Beach Balcony Restaurant, Lennox Hotel
Cnr Byron St and
Pacific Pde, Lennox Head