By Vivienne Pearson
In a town built for summer, it’s not always easy to find a spot cosy enough for a winter’s night out. I found one recently at Targa. I’ve always loved the multi-coloured cube sign but, until now had not eaten there.
‘I like winter,’ says head chef and co-owner, Dave Prowse. And it shows, with winter-warmer items on the menu including roasted root vegetables, brussel sprouts and mulled wine. ‘We’re ringing our suppliers weeks in advance to find out when we can start to put these ingredients on the menu,’ says Dave.
The menu is the creation of a tight-knit team of chefs. ‘It is a long-established team,’ says Dave. ‘We work well together.’ Dave and sous chef Andrea Bettini are long-term collaborators, especially in the creation of dishes. ‘We are a sounding board for each other,’ says Dave.
I tried the Fish of the Day, which was jewfish, served with puy lentils, roast brussels sprouts and salsa verde. The fish was cooked to perfection and the whole dish was a delight of flavours, especially the citrus notes in the salsa.
For dessert, I couldn’t go past the Mulled Wine Poached Pear. This is an example of the collaboration between chefs. ‘It used to be two dishes,’ says Dave. ‘Then one day, Andrea and I were chatting over the chopping boards and we decided to combine the best elements of each into one dessert.’ This is perfect for me, as I am often torn between chocolate- and fruit-based desserts and, with this option, I had both in one!
Spoiler alert: The chocolate and Frangelico mousse is hidden within the pear, which is served whole.
The mulled-wine and Frangelico flavours make this feel like a decadent dessert and the hazelnuts help make it a substantial one too. A Genovese coffee finished the evening off beautifully.
Both my main and dessert were ideal for a wintery Byron dinner. Both had winter-warming elements (the brussels sprouts and mulled wine) that were perfectly combined with the summery brightness (citrus and pear) that Byron is so well known for.
Targa: 11 Marvell Street, Byron Bay. Ph: 6680 9960. www.targabyronbay.com
Breakfast and lunch 7 days, dinner Tues–Sat. Try the 2- or 3-course dinner special through July and August.
Targa chef team: L–R Rob Breeze, Kailash Jai Ra, Dave Prowse, Andrea Bettini, Marco Oldani – photo credit Vivienne Pearson