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Byron Shire
July 2, 2022

Rooftop dining in the centre of Byron

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Rooftop dining

Simon Haslam

Last Friday I went up for a few drinks with friends at the relatively new rooftop dining area in the centre of Byron at Mark + Vinny’s Place (MVP), at the end of the Byron Pier arcade just near the first roundabout. There’s a hidden staircase down the end of the arcade, which leads to the Amalfi coast-style rooftop area where you can enjoy a candlelit spaghetti and spritz, under the stars (or marquee depending on the weather).

It’s all painted white, with colourful striped umbrellas, and a succulent and cacti garden. Owing to the shape of the top deck, it’s very reminiscent of a boat, and apparently there is a ‘Titanic Painting Couch’ with sketch board where you can replicate the Jack and Rose sketch scene from the movie. 

As part of the restaurant’s mission to reduce its carbon footprint, the rooftop has a custom built algae wall which contains around 200 litres of microalgae that are soaking up carbon dioxide from the air and is powered by natural sunlight, reducing the restaurant’s carbon footprint and returning fresh oxygen into the atmosphere. I must say, in the excitement of ordering my first cocktail from the friendly staff, who must be quite fit from climbing stairs all night, I somewhat overlooked the algae.

According to Mark + Vinny, they ‘have infinite gratitude to the Byron community for supporting them through this difficult first year,’ during which a strong takeaway following has helped them get through the quiet times. ‘With the COVID limitations and the impact of the floods, the extension of the rooftop dining area has been a welcome addition,’ they say.

Whilst on the night we visited the crowd was ‘adults only’, apparently kids and family groups enjoy playing with the giant Jenga/ Connect 4. It’s also a very romantic space for date nights where guests eat spaghetti, Lady and The Tramp style.

The first thing that occurred to us was how wonderful this would be for a group celebration, and apparently this is pretty popular, with groups settling in for a night of Margarita cocktails (mine was fantastic) and Margherita pizzas (especially popular owing to the $39 three-course set menu option).

Given its ‘secret’ location down the laneway, the rooftop is often stumbled upon for a post-dinner nightcap and tiramisu, but now you’re in the know too!

At their Sydney venue Mark and Vinny say their spritz dominates the drinks menu, in Byron Bay however the Chilli Margaritas have become the fan favourite, and are heavily featured with eight different styles on the menu. Speaking of chilli, their chilli oils range from ‘hot’ made with Calabrian red chilli to ‘extremely hot’, made with Carolina Reaper chillis available on the side of any dish and now stocked locally at specialty supermarkets, including at Baz & Shaz in Suffolk Park! 

While the rooftop is casual, fun and romantic, they regard the food as serious business, saying that, ‘the restaurant is dedicated to the real MVPs – the ‘most valuable producers: of Byron Bay. The artisans, the growers, the pioneers who are demonstrating what a more sustainable food system can look like. The food is sourced sustainably, in-season and from farms with full traceability and integrity. Mark + Vinny have spent years perfecting their signature dishes, and as much effort is put into the plant-based and gluten free dishes as the traditional family recipe dishes.’

U7 7 Lawson St, Byron Bay.
Dine-in hours: Monday–Sunday 5pm–late.

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