Story and photos by Caz Parker
Vintage Schweppes bottles light up to spell LOVE above a timber ‘love seat’. This is becoming a popular Instragrammable Byron attraction. It’s inspired the new motto ‘Stop, in the name of Love’ and adds a touch of Bohemian romance to the recently renovated Byron Fresh Café.
The impressive transformation of Fresh took just 2½ weeks. Owner Markus Hofer has high praise for builder Jess Wagner [known as Rex] and local willing tradies.
Markus says, ‘We wanted a space that would endure over time and be suitable for dining at all times of the day as we are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It had to be distinctively Byron [in style]. We chose Nyree MacKenzie as the designer because she understands Byron and its trends. She’s a master at using discarded materials, which other people wouldn’t think to use, to create beautiful spaces.’
Nyree describes the decor as ‘rough luxe’. ‘I wanted Fresh to feel like a home, timeless and cosy, where you feel relaxed,’ says Nyree. The bones of the building form a beach cottage from a bygone era. It features rustic elements blended with elegance. Gigantic ornate doors, floor-to-ceiling salvaged pillars, old-world lamps, decorative wrought iron, and exotic floor tiles provide pops of grandeur amid the distressed weatherboard walls.
Sitting on prime Byron real estate, street-side wining and dining at Fresh provides the hottest seats in town for watching the Byronistic passing parade. The buoyant buzz continues inside in more intimate split-level zones. All nooks and crannies are well catered for by the energetic service team.
Service is also zippy from the new whiz-bang kitchen and bar. Healthy ingredients are the backbone of Chef Lucas Becker’s flavour-packed menu. The diverse offerings include share plates, satisfying salads, zestful seafood, bulging burgers and desserts well worth the plunge.
My choice of succulent grass-fed yearling eye fillet cloaked with seasoned butter, tomato relish, kipfler potatoes, and broccolini lived up to the waiter’s confident recommendation.
The new Takeaway Booth offers tantalising breakfast and lunch treats. Haloumi rolls, zen burgers, brownies, berrylicious smoothies, and chai lattes are tastebud favourites. The adjacent mini-bakery wall teases the eyes with plump sourdough loaves and buttery pastries baked daily by The Bread Social from The Farm. Scented romance spills onto the sidewalk with fresh flowers wrapped in Love printed paper.
Next time I’m passing, I’ll stop again, in the name of Love – and loving dining at Byron Fresh Café.