By Vivienne Pearson
There is not one but four new places to check out on the southern end of Jonson Street. Okay, the four are all one business, but the variety within the physical space as well as on the menu means that you can think about it as four different options to add to your eating-out repertoire.
Simply named Jonsons, the cafe/restaurant/bar/lounge is the new venture of Yatzek Beit Yaakov (of The Byronian Café, which was on this site until recently) and Geoff Coward (founder of The Balcony). The two have been friends for years and have combined forces for Jonsons. ‘It’s a bringing together of two minds,’ says Yatzek of their partnership. ‘We are both detail focused and make sure customers get 1,000 per cent.’
Their attention to detail has ensured that the newly renovated building looks good and is adaptable to the day’s weather, with most windows able to be fully opened.
The four parts of Jonsons to check out are:
Streetside cafe: the street furniture is simple and sturdy, perfect for a casual coffee and a snack. Jonsons is the only cafe in town offering Lavazza coffee.
Front window bar: Cocktails have been specially created, including the delightful Beekeeper (butter-infused rum, lime, honey and vanilla) and the Sea Dragon (another rum-based cocktail, this time teamed with ginger, lemongrass, coconut, mango and pineapple). All the cocktails are the same price, meaning that you can focus on choosing based purely on your tastebuds. The bar area is illuminated by glossy black tiles and eye-capturing lighting giving this area a real night-time feel.
Main restaurant hub: With super-comfy low booth-style seating, this is the area for a meal, whether breakfast, lunch or dinner. Foodwise, your options are extensive. Breakfast, from 6.30am through to midday, might consist of the usual eggs, avocado smash, locally made museli, or a nourish bowl. Lunch picks up through to 2.30pm, with some favourites carried over from the breakfast menu and soup, fish and other lighter meals added in.
Dinner kicks in from 6pm, with some unusual dishes (paccheri, I learn, is like ‘inside out rigatoni’) to balance the popular rib eye steak and pumpkin risotto. Desserts are made by Jonsons’ talented French pastry chef, including a lemon & basil tart and a salted caramel & chocolate fondant. A Grazing Menu covers you all the way from midday till late for smaller or shared meals. You can choose from arancini, paté, pork belly, octopus or a tasting board.
Hidden garden lounge: Like the main restaurant area, this back room is ideal for any weather; with lots of glass for light on cooler days and fully opening windows for when it is warm. Both areas look out onto rainforest-inspired murals and water walls. The same menu applies for this area which can be converted between small-numbers relaxed eating, and a private room for later bookings (up to 25 diners).
Jonsons’ catch-cry is ‘The place to be seen’. Whether you be choose to be seen in the front window bar, the garden lounge, the main restaurant, or on the street is up to you.
Jonsons: 111 Jonson Street, Byron Bay. Phone: 6685 6754. Open 6.30am–late. Facebook+Instagram: @johnsonsrestaurantbar
Bar window at Jonsons – photo Vivienne Pearson
Jonsons is located at 111 Jonson St, Byron Bay – photo supplied
Food at Jonsons – photo supplied