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Byron Shire
January 23, 2022

Fond of a Vagabond

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Simon Haslam

Vagabond Byron Bay is a cafe in the Habitat hamlet that has a relaxed and welcoming vibe with a plant-based menu specialising in nourishing, healthy food. The eatery proudly uses local produce and it includes an adjoining providore section from which you can pick up an array of produce from their local suppliers. Vagabonders, Penny Loughnan and Anthony Baker (who co-founded the Combi brand, 2008–2021 by establishing then selling stores in Melbourne, Adelaide and recently in Byron Bay), opened Vagabond in April 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic.

Through the ups and downs, the cafe has thrived, and when I visited on a warm and soft afternoon recently the whole precinct was full of people shopping, winding down after their fitness sessions upstairs, or working away on their laptops under the poinciana that shades the centre courtyard. Penny and Anthony are the sort of people who feel that ‘gratitude is the best attitude’, and say ‘we love sharing our offerings and celebrating community at the wonderful, eclectic precinct of Habitat’. Having watched the whole precinct grow, it’s great to see there’s something new happening each time I visit.

Vagabond is the place if you’re looking to get a hot cacao elixir or a bulletproof mushroom tonic, or more, but they make a great double espresso too, created with their signature Farmers’ Blend of 100 per cent certified organic coffee roasted by a small family-operated boutique roastery that they have used in all their cafes for the past 18 years.

I ordered mine with a matcha mango smoothie, made with house-made almond milk; there are a variety of plant-based mylks (oat, soy, coconut, macadamia, locally-pressed Almond Mylk from Byron Milk Company in Bangalow) plus they offer organic cow’s milk. As well, the smoothies have an option to add vegan or non-vegan protein powders. If I had gone for a sweet treat, that would have been pretty healthy too – they cook and bake in-house daily, using whole foods, organic GF flours, spelt, and use coconut sugar and organic maple syrup for sweeteners, there is no refined sugar in the cafe.

As true wanderers, Loughnan and Baker say, ‘We love flavours of the world, celebrating our love of travelling’ and this is reflected in their menu with a range of influences. Using many of the community’s much loved local brands, (they even use Linen Shift who support women at risk of homelessness), they are passionate about their community, their staff and customers. Vagabond serves nutritious, vital food and operates with enthusiasm and love.

Instagram @vagabondbyronbay

Shop 33–34 Habitat,
1 Porter Street, Byron Bay.
Open seven days per week. 

Monday–Saturday 6.30am–3pm (food till 2pm), Sunday 7am–2pm.


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