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Byron Shire
July 18, 2024

Bowled over

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By: Vivienne Pearson

I might be biased but I’m bowled over by the new chefs at the Bruns bowlo. I encourage you to ditch your grip on any other places you eat out at and line up to see how green the grass is once you drive to this rink. If you have a friend called Jack, definitely bring him along.

See what I did there? How many of the lawn-bowls references squeezed into that first paragraph did you get? Whatever your score,* you are welcome to check out the new setup at the Pacific Bistro (the name of the restaurant at the Brunswick Heads Bowling Club).

New chefs, Bill Thomas and Simon Egan, took over in March. They have great lineage in terms of creating and cooking quality, affordable, pub/club meals; until recently, they were the chefs who cooked the $15 meals at Mullumbimby’s Middle Pub.

Bill and Simon have brought a similar ethos to their new venture. All meals are $20 or less, including steak, parmigiana, salmon or barramundi. If $15 is your limit, you can choose from five burgers and eight mains, including homemade gnocchi and what Bill, at least, likes to think is the ‘best salt ’n’ pepper squid around’.

The $20 limit applies to the Specials board too. Some days, Bill and Simon see almost all orders coming from this board: ‘It seems to be part of the culture here,’ Simon remarks. And if the adults find it hard to decide, kids will also be happily occupied deciding among the seven options listed for them ($6–8).

Functions are available, whether it be meetings, training, clubs or social gatherings. Bill worked in wedding catering for many years so has no difficulty swapping into this role. Part of the restaurant area is semi-screened, allowing for smaller functions or for large dining bookings to have a sense of privacy.

Bill and Simon decided to go into business after finding that they worked well together. Both of their partners have also donned aprons to join in and Bill happily reports that ‘no-one has killed me yet,’ despite the juggling of family and business life that has resulted.

So, if you like your bowls but haven’t eaten at the Pacific Bistro for a while, give the ‘new blokes’ a try. ‘The club staff say that they’ve been seeing faces of people who haven’t eaten here for years,’ says Bill.

Or, if you like eating out knowing that you won’t blow your budget, this is a good option for you. And, if you come on the last Sunday of each month, when Mufti Bowls is on, you could try your hand at lawn bowls too. Just make sure you bring along the first paragraph of this article as a handy reference for some of the terms you might need to know!

* There are 10 references. Anyone who disputes this (ie knows more about bowls than I, which wouldn’t be hard) is welcome to discuss it over a rib-eye steak sandwich at the bowlo one lunchtime!


Pacific Bistro is located in the Brunswick Heads Bowling Club, Old Pacific Highway (just south of the town). Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. 6685 1328.

Photos: by The Echo’s Jeff Dawson

pacific bistro


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