By Vivienne Pearson
First, let’s get the Three Blue Ducks connection out of the way. All three co-owners of Shelter, new in Lennox Head, have strong connections with Three Blue Ducks (which, to save valuable column inches, will henceforth will be referred to as TBD), the restaurant both in Sydney and at Byron’s The Farm.
Here’s the run down of the Lennox-TBD pedigree: Grant LaBrooy, chef, has worked on and off at Three Blue Ducks since it opened and is brother of Mark, one of the TBD co-owners. Andrew Love, bar and front-of-house manager, was general manager of TBD at The Farm. Troy Noonan, coffee and front-of-house manager, was a senior manager working with Andrew.
‘It’s a blessing and a curse – people make assumptions,’ says Grant, of the TBD connection. Adds Andrew: ‘It will always have an influence, but we have gone off and done our own thing now’.
Shelter is in the prime position along the Pacific Parade foreshore that was formerly Foam. Grant, Andrew and Troy designed and renovated the space, including adding in big bi-fold windows towards the sea. ‘We’ve opened it up to make it one big space,’ says Grant, who admits he was hesitant about accepting his invitation to join the venture until he saw the venue. ‘We are so fortunate in our location and in our view,’ he says, as we look out over the ocean.
Open seven days from 6.30 until late, there is an equally strong focus on coffee and food. Coffee is Single O (formerly called Single Origin) and includes filter as well as espresso options. The food menu is extensive and mouth-watering. Breakfast options include avo toast (so that local millennials can eat brunch instead of buying a house just like their Sydney counterparts). Eggs takes a twist with the addition of pulled pork and smoked chili sauce. ‘It’s what I would cook up for the staff when I worked at Bayleaf,’ says Grant, who figured that if that crew loved it, so would his customers.
Lunch options are hearty, including mussels, beef flank and gnocchi. I learned my something-new-for-the-day when asking about the ‘Burrata’ option, discovering that burrata is a mozzarella-plus-cream-cheese that has a soft interior.
Dinners are all about sharing. ‘We call it Interactive Dining,’ says Andrew. I assume I have a second new food term to learn until Grant also admits he’s never heard the term and Andrew ‘fesses up that he coined the term on the spot! It could catch on (and if it does, remember you heard it here first!) as it’s a good way to describe the share-plate benefit of allowing people to taste as much of the menu as possible. A ‘chef’s selection’ is an option for those who would prefer to achieve this aim without their conversation being dominated by dish selection.
The trio have certainly added their own stamp to both their TBD backgrounds and to the food options in Lennox Head – both for locals and visitors. Their ultimate aim? To add Lennox Head to the ever-increasing-sized food map of the area. Says Grant: ‘We want to become one of the must-go places to eat in the northern rivers’.
Shelter, 41 Pacific Parade, Lennox Head. 7 days, 6.30am–late (3–5pm only light snacks are available) Ph: 6687 7757, www.shelterlennox.com.au, Instagram: @Shelter.Lennox
Troy, Grant and Andrew.
Pictured above – Shelter has a relaxed beachfront vibe and is located 450m north of the Lennox Hotel on the esplanade.
Pictured below – coffee and food available at Shelter.