Raes on Wategos, Byron Bay’s luxury resort, spa, and restaurant was put back on the map after a full refurbishment in 2017 saw significant building changes, a service overhaul, and a reinvigoration of the soul and energy of the beachside hotspot.
With all of these aspects of the property now well in place, a new executive chef, Jason Saxby, takes the helm of the food and beverage offering, completing a full-circle renaissance of the venue.
Saxby, previously of Osteria di Russo & Russo, The Ledbury (UK), Quay, and a most recent role as head chef of the two-hatted Pilu at Freshwater, brings world-class talent to the Raes kitchen.
Saxby boasts a list of awards including being a previous winner of the Josephine Pignolet Best Young Chef Award, and his famous fregola pasta with squid ink, prawns, and whipped mussel butter and bottarga was of the 50 finalists in The Australian’s 2014 50 Hottest Dishes.
Saxby has a vision to introduce an approachable yet dynamic Italian-inspired menu that showcases the local region’s unique and sought-after produce.
Raes general manager Francesca Webster says, ‘Jason has restaurant royalty under his belt, and I am confident in his ability to further strengthen our hotel’s offering as well as our region’s produce-driven dining culture. We both look forward to sharing our new offering with all of our valued guests and supporters.’
Saxby adds, ‘I really want to work closely with local producers on a personal level and create a menu that is all about good food but doesn’t take itself too seriously. A bit of fun and a cheeky pun here or there… an offering that’s totally unique at Raes in Byron Bay.’
Additions to the menu include Kangaroo tartare, tonnato, capers, pickled onion, and radish; local burrata, Boon Luck heirloom zucchini, fingerlime, and herbs; Tagliolini pasta, Ballina prawns, spicy nduja salami and bush-tomato crumb, Roast pumpkin and wattleseed agnolotti, bunya nuts, brown butter, and mostarda, Chargrilled Queensland Black cobia, fennel, citrus, black olive, and a Free-range pork cutlet, Davidson plum, muntries, and hibiscus leaves.
‘The offering is unlike anything else in the region and, with Jason’s food direction, we are confident it will be an amazing and unique experience for guests,’ says Raes director Jordy Catalano, son of well-known businessman Anthony Catalano.
For Raes, it’s been a renaissance in every sense of the word.