Valentines Day for some represents a commercial investment.
It comes around once a year and, depending on who you’re entertaining, the game is either to act on chemistry then make all the right moves ready for the plunge, or it’s about pulling out all the stops to remind your significant other why they have you hanging around all the time. Well, I’ve spent a bomb over the years trying to gain the romantic points that the advertisers try to guilt us into.
Where’s my dividend from those investments? I couldn’t really say. I haven’t seen most of those early attempts at romancing for years and some I wouldn’t want to meet again.
It appears that the Valentines Day annual event is Mother Nature’s way of getting the juices flowing. It’s the Tupperware party of procreation, the pointy end of breeding – I’m an expert witness with five children and a desperate need to thwart the pheromones.
This is the land of romance – just look around: perfect days, blue tropical waters, plenty of opportunity and public space to sit and fall in love.
These days, for me it’s the smell of my newborn baby’s head that fills my pheromone requirements (oh, that and a romantic dinner for two without the baby’s head and subsequent screams to match).
Here in this region, you can make a rock feel special; after all, it’s the land of plenty with everything your heart desires – the respectable, the budget, the quirky and the just plain different…
Gilles has been working front of house here for quite some time and he’s doing it here with love and care.
If you’re into creative, quality fresh local produce with organic considerations, then the Yum Yum Tree is a definite recommendation. Intimate and personable dinners are served here every week Friday and Saturday nights without exception.
It’s across from the river – rustic, cosy and outdoorsy with a genuine al-fresco feel and outdoor tables to match.
You’ll find dining here that’s a fit for a number of moods. ‘We offer a personal touch for every diner and some customers see us as a naturally good alternative to the busy, sometimes impersonal Byron scene,’ Gilles said. ‘Every Friday and Saturday evening we offer two meat dishes and two fish dishes, a vegetarian, a risotto, and it’s the reliable quality of our à la carte menu and sensational specials that is bringing our customers back,’ Gilles said.
The team here will help you leave on cloud nine with your significant other on Valentines; however, every day of the week they’ll do the same, breakfast, lunch or dinner on Friday and Saturday from 6pm until late.
Yum Yum Tree
50 River Street, New Brighton, 0403 160 663. BYO and fully licensed. Open 7.30am until 3pm, seven days.
For those yet to have the pleasure of dining at Harvest, it’s a perfectly lovely fit-out.
Rustic and romantic dining areas are serviced with the best of hospitality. Flowers and art sit well positioned throughout the restaurant inside and out. The lighting captures the romance that is present on every evening here. Large leather lounges and armchairs counterpoint the dining room, creating a cosy and relaxed interior with a comfortable balcony area for al-fresco dining.
Tasteful and easy on the eye, the Harvest will be well noted and appreciated by your significant other on Cupid’s special day (the arrows will be flying in all the right places).
Harvest have planned a special dinner experience on Valentines Day, Saturday evening, 14 February.
You can treat yourself and your loved one to a special, candle-lit four-course dinner on the night. If you want to pull all the stops out, book with the additional option of quality matched wines. $95 per person, all inclusive of the four-course meal, with matched wines, $150 per person.
Bookings are available from 6.30pm. For your reservation either email [email protected] or call.
18–22 Old Pacific Highway, Newrybar Village, Byron Bay hinterland.
Basiloco – a fresh romance in Byron
The song goes on but they’re singing a different tune.
Singer/songwriter Pete Murray has sold up the Frankie Brown bar and restaurant site and it’s now called Basiloco – a contemporary Sardinian eatery. Manuel and Norma Agus are its new owners.
I walked past recently and was like a moth to a flame. Cane torches lit the footpath, flames excitedly licking the shadows.
The interior was truly a display of colour and ambience. It’s a perfect place for romance and a good cocktail or two. They now serve a fresh and authentic Sardinian tapas menu by day with a larger menu from 6pm. For $69 per person, a special Valentines Day ‘aphrodisiac’ three-course menu is available on Saturday 14 February.
The meal includes a half-bottle of wine. I also tried the panna cotta here, so the dessert – passionfruit panna cotta with strawberry sauce – will be to die for, that I’m sure. Bookings advised. Open from 11am until 6pm. Dinner 6pm until 10pm, Wednesday to Monday. Live music from 7pm until 9pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday until 10pm.
30 Lawson Street, Byron Bay, 6680 8818.
Licensed [email protected]
The Byron at Byron Spa is offering a Valentines love bonus for locals.
Purchase a spa voucher to the value of $140 or more by Thursday 19 February and receive a $20 spa voucher to be used on a subsequent visit. Send your Valentine or be your own Valentine.
‘The Spa has received a refresh. We still have more exciting changes this year,’ said spa manager Melinda Dunn, ‘but for now we have given our relaxation area a makeover and our heated spa is now a mineral spa. Guests will notice the difference in the healing waters.’
Signature treatments from The Byron at Byron provide the stressed punter with a soothing break from everyday life. ‘A favourite is the two-hour Flannel Flower Relax. The journey begins with an iKOU body polish – a luxurious full-body exfoliation with coconut and hibiscus. This is followed by a white flannel flower body cocoon, an express facial, facial and scalp massage and hibiscus soufflé body moisturise. Finishing with a tea ceremony,’ Melinda added.
Though my wife won’t need the following info, you may find this comforting: it’s suitable during pregnancy after the first trimester.
The Kiva Spa
1 McGougans Lane, Mullumbimby, 6639 2110.
Love, dopamine, and good times are assured with chocolate.
Alison Campbell, the mastermind behind Love Byron Bay Chocolate, has created a very sexy chocolate shop. This store has every sort of decadence in chocolate. If you haven’t thought of anything else, then all you need is chocolate for Valentines Day on 14 February.
Apart from the fact that chocolate is a good old-fashioned aphrodisiac. Mayans first used cacao beans and chocolate beverages as sacred offerings as well as ceremonial drinks for betrothals or marriages. Cacao contains tryptophan, which is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter with roles in mood regulation.
For a dose of this and more, try a small gift box ready to place your selected chocolates in, or perhaps a petit fours à la chocolate, or the spoiling of a personal box on the pillow. Pick singles, or quantities, freshly dipped chocolate fruits, pralines, truffles. While you’re in, try a hot chocolate made on Belgian choc – white or dark – lick it off the spoon.
You don’t need to be gorgeous or rich because the chocolates already are.
Love Byron Bay Chocolate
Next to Spar Express on Lawson Street, Byron Bay, 6685 7974. 11am–9pm, 7 days.
If you’re up for a candle-lit, no-nonsense dining experience complete with the authentic fare of Rohit Sharma, the Indian chef here, then come along to Billinudgel’s one and only Indian restaurant. Alternatively, bring it home with a delivery.
A sizable annexed outside area for al-fresco dining and a large functional inside dining room await at Billi’s Indian restaurant. This is a cheap eat, not just an inexpensive menu but a truly reasonable back-to-the-90s pricing. Lamb, seafood, prawn and fish dishes max out at an awesome $16 price.
Vegetarians can retire on the $11.90 pricing. Valentines Day is about romance and there’s romance in the exotic nature of spice (not to mention some aphrodisiacal qualities).
Book ahead for a complimentary dessert. There’s no licence; however, bring your own bottle and enjoy your complimentary pappadams on arrival (all tables) – oldies receive 10 per cent discount – dine-in, takeaway and home delivery.
Billi’s Indian Restaurant Main Street of Billinudgel (five minutes north of Brunswick Heads) 6680 3352.
Dine in, takeaway and home delivery. Open for dinner from 5pm–9pm, Tuesday to Sunday.
The Ballina RSL’s Spinnakers Restaurant is hosting a special Valentines Day three-course dinner on Saturday 14 February, from 6.30pm.
The $58.90 per-head charge promises a well-chosen selection of fabulous foods that includes choices in dishes such as Macadamia Pesto Crusted Snapper with sauté kipfler potatoes, buttered asparagus and sauce vierge; Seared Duck Breast with braised cabbage, lotus potato and a pomegranate jus or, for the vegetarian, Smoked Mushrooms with wilted spinach, eggplant caviar and salsa verde.
There’s entertainment by Brian Pamphilon, pianist and singer. Brian is well known to Ballina audiences as he has performed in many musicals; was pianist/singer on cruise ships in Australia, Singapore and the USA.
He was also resident pianist/singer of two of London’s Hilton hotels and performed all over Europe. There are four seatings – 6.30pm, 7pm, 7.30pm, 8pm. Ballina RSL Club 240 River Street, Ballina, 6686 2544. Ballina Bowling Club has a special Valentines Day three-course dinner at Rinks Restaurant in Canal Road, Ballina.
There’s a complimentary wine or beer on arrival and entertainment by Neil Anderson and Richard Brent.
Richard and Neil are both accomplished guitarists and lead vocalists, having performed as both a duo and in a solo capacity for many years.
Ticket price: $39.90. Rinks Restaurant RSL Bowling Club Canal Road, Ballina, 6686 6888.