Get Forked and Fly a Byron Bay Food Review Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:05:08 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 Get Forked and Fly 32 32 The Mez Club, Byron Bay: Review Thu, 22 Jun 2017 07:06:10 +0000 The Mez Club Byron BayThe Mez Club in Byron Bay is all about the Mediterranean. That goes for the décor, the drinks and the dining. Occupying two floors on the corner of Jonson and Marvell Streets, it’s hard not to spot the über chic ‘Mez’. It’s busy all week long with locals and drop-ins descending for mezze platters, mixers and music after dark when the place heaves with the young and beautiful appropriately wasting the night away.

Inspired by the architecture of the Mediterranean cities and coastlines, the venue is a mix of white washed walls from the Greek Islands, grilled windows with wooden shutters from Morocco, abundant cushions and leather poufs from Turkey and the muted hues of the dessert.

Breezy Mediterranean vibes at The Mez Club
Breezy Mediterranean vibes

From downstairs, the high ceiling and open outdoor dining area give The Mez Club a breezy lightness reminiscent of Santorini. Seating is at a mixture of low and high tables, which are mostly comfortable, but I find sitting up at the bar while waiting for a free table can be too squishy when the staff are busy back and forth . At the rear of the lower floor is a semi-private dining nook with curved wall seating that has stood the test of time and numerous reincarnations from the building’s former lives. It’s great for groups.

Above the spiral stair case on the second floor is ‘The Souk’ – a more intimate space for groups of 10 or more and private functions, complete with its own bar and mixed seating. It can get a bit hot up there during the height of Summer – a bit like a Moroccan Souk I suppose – but when the weather is cooler it’s a delicious haven. You need to book your table upstairs, while downstairs is mostly on a walk-in basis, however you can book a downstairs table in off season during the week.

As for the food, The Mez Club menu sails gently around the shorelines of the kitchens and cultures lining ‘The Med’. Think fresh mezze dishes and traditional shared platters that you would enjoy with friends and family for lunch with aperitifs overlooking the azure sea or as dinner after a day swimming and sunning at the beach.

The menu starts with dips and nibbles like Greek Tzatziki, Warm Olives and Middle Eastern Hummus with Pitta Bread.  For a light meal for two I can recommend the $38 for three Mezze Platter special. While The Mez Club menu can change with the seasons, I suggest the Halloumi, the Lamb Kofte and the Roast Beetroot Salad if they’re on. Also, the staff have always been happy to adjust quantities if, for example, a mezze dish comes with three pieces but there are four of you.

The Mez Club LunchThe Large Platters follow and feature an amazing Mez Moussaka which is a roasted half eggplant stuffed with traditionally spiced lamb mince, vegetables and pine nuts topped with tahini yoghurt and melted cheese. Then there are the Kebab Boards which come with your choice of meat or vegetarian options, warm flatbread, sweet potato fries, Greek style salad, dukkah and green harissa aioli

The Mez Club Pocket Lunch Special
The Mez Club Pocket Lunch Special

Mr GFAF and I have enjoyed The Mez Club’s $20 lunchtime special a few times. It’s a ‘Make Your Own Pitta Pocket’ plate with your choice of Chicken, Kofte, Haloumi or Roast Vegetable filling served with a half pitta pocket, sweet potato fries, Greek salad and hummus plus a glass of Pinot Grigio or a Stone and Wood Beer. The Sweet Potato Fries are delicious.

There are desserts on the menu as well. The Sweet Mezze Selection includes locally made Turkish delight, baklava and halva with candied orange and rocky road is good for a small group and just right if, like me, you prefer a little bite of something sweet at the end of a meal without being overloaded.

The Mez Club Happy HourBut you don’t just visit The Mez Club for the food – as great as it is. It’s the fantastic drinks as well – especially after hours during the daily Happy Hour which runs from 5-6pm every day except Friday when it is extended from 4-6pm. There is a good selection of wines and bubbles by the glass but it’s the aperitifs and cocktails that bring the crowds. Try the local $10 Ink Gin and Tonic or the $12 Turkish Princess featuring Prosecco, Turkish delight liqueur, vodka and soda to stay on theme.

Ink Gin and Tonic at The Mez Club
Happy Hour Ink Gin and Tonic

The Mez Club in Byron Bay is a long-awaited venue for those looking for fresh, tasty shared dining in the mezze tradition with grown up drinks and a bit of coastal Mediterranean chic. The space is stylish and ideal for a sunny lunch but even better after hours for grown up eats, drinks and beats.   

The Mez Club Winter Night
and there’s a fireplace for Winter nights
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Byron Bay Fine Food and Beverage Festival: Review Thu, 08 Jun 2017 07:52:03 +0000 Cheers to Prosciutto di Parma!

It’s only going to get bigger and better. That was the consensus among the foodie fraternity who turned out last Saturday for the inaugural Byron Bay Fine Food and Beverage Festival. Held in in the beachside parkland adjacent to Elements Resort and Spa, the festival was a gathering of some of Australia’s finest food and beverage producers alongside a showcase of our own region’s favourites.

The day began for respectable ‘eleven-sies’ which was good for those of us who had celebrated appropriately at the Festival’s warm up ‘Mixed Dozen Gala Dinner’ the night before. Held inside Elements resort, it was a fabulously fitting way to kick off the festivities. The food and beverage flowed from the get go, with grilled scampi and cheesy gougères for canapés and apéritifs from Cape Byron Distillery and Husk Distillers, before the 240 guests were seated for a six-course dinner prepared by 11 local chefs and the evening’s Guest Chef Neil Perry.  

Salt Bush Lamb and Whole Roasted Pumpkin - Byron at Byron and Three Blue Ducks
Salt Bush Lamb and Whole Roasted Pumpkin – Byron at Byron and Three Blue Ducks

There were two dishes for each course matched with wines from the Festival’s wineries.  It was impossible to choose a favourite dish and pairing but everyone had fun using their hands to eat Perry’s (Rockpool) Bo Saam – a lettuce leaf with slow cooked beef strips and kim chi dressing. Gavin Hughes’ (Byron at Byron) slow roasted organic salt bush lamb with dukkah and native mint sauce was falling off the bone and was a winner with Mark LeBrooy’s (Three Blue Ducks) rustic whole baked pumpkin, smoked labna, shaved macadamias, farm herbs and weeds while Katrina Kanetani’s (TOWN) rhubarb, mandarin and lemon mess with red garnet finger lime and Davidson plum powder was a beautiful balance of sweet and sour.

I was able to take a sneaky peak at the pass as dessert was being assembled. To watch the team of local chefs collaborate on one dish was so impressive. Coordinated by Sarah Swan from 100 Mile Table, they worked swiftly and calmly until the last plate was gone.  

Katrina Kanetani and Gavin Hughes
Katrina Kanetani (TOWN) and Gavin Hughes (Byron at Byron)

It would be remiss of me not to mention the dinner’s host with the most for the night – Jeremy Burn – also from 100 Mile Table. He kept us all entertained throughout the evening with live crosses to the kitchen and pass that were broadcast inside on cinema sized screens. There was hilarity and laughter and it was a great way to fill in those gaps between courses.

Byron Bay Fine Food and Beverage Festival Gala Dinner
Byron Bay Fine Food and Beverage Festival Gala Dinner

The hard working chefs and their staff were back again on Saturday to feed the Byron Bay Fine Food and Beverage Festival crowds. Each of the Chef’s restaurants had prepared a signature festival dish for the day. There was much debate among the foodies as to what was the ‘dish of the day’. While I didn’t get to enjoy Monique Guterres’ (Seaweed Cuisine) Iluka sardines nor Ben Devlin’s (Paper Daisy) grilled prawns, they were popular choices for many local foodies I caught up with.

100 Mile Table Smoked Lamb Ribs
100 Mile Table Smoked Lamb Ribs with Iceberg and Miso Ranch Dressing
BBQ Bangalow Sweet Pork and local Brunswick King Prawn with Green Papaya and Snow Pea Salad from FINS
BBQ Bangalow Sweet Pork and local Brunswick King Prawn with Green Papaya and Snow Pea Salad from FINS

Two dishes high on my list were the smoked lamb ribs from 100 Mile Table and the BBQ Bangalow sweet pork and prawn from FINs. The ‘dude food’ of the day award would have to go to Luca Ciano’s (Byron Bay Farmers’ Market) slow cooked pork belly panino. The churros from Katrina Kanetani (TOWN) were sensational as well. I am missing a  whole bunch of dishes here but I just couldn’t try everything!

Churros Dulce de Leche from TOWN
Churros Dulce de Leche from TOWN
Slow Cooked Pork Belly Panino with Kale, Provolone, Chilli and Lemon Mayo by Luca Ciano
Slow Cooked Pork Belly Panino with Kale, Provolone, Chilli and Lemon Mayo by Luca Ciano
Brookie's Slow Gin (not a typo!) - Cape Byron Distillery
Brookie’s Slow Gin (not a typo!) – Cape Byron Distillery

On the beverage side of the Festival there were the 12 wineries selling a selection of their best as well as Cape Byron Distillery, Husk Distillers, Stone and Wood and Byron Bay Wild Cider. The Bun Coffee Single Origin Bar was a great break out zone and haven from the wind chill and occasional showers.

Kate Walsh & Luca Ciano in the Fine Food Masterclass Marquee
Kate Walsh & Luca Ciano in the Fine Food Masterclass Marquee

For me, the Masterclasses were a highlight, and these were included in the entry ticket price of $20. We joined two different wine masterclasses – The Great South Australian Taste off with wines from the Barossa and Coonawarra regions, which was loads of fun, and the Cold Climate Elegance masterclass with Paracombe wines. Their 2016 Sparkling PinotNoir Chardonnay was a highlight for its delicate bubbles and soft flavours. The food masterclasses were popular and we thoroughly enjoyed the Proscuitto di Parma lesson with Chef Luca Ciano – including a tasting!

Local favourite Salumi Australia
Local favourite Salumi Australia

The Producers’ Marquee showcased a good range of gourmet goodies with free tasting samples to keep the crowds happy. Local favourites were there including Salumi Australia, Brookfarm and Nimbin Valley Dairy as well as newcomers like Church Farm, Byron Bay Mozzarella and The Bay Smokehouse. You could smell the camphor laurel at the Eco Chopping Boards stand and foodies could take home a signed Byron Bay cookbook for inspiration.

Church Farm Sauces
Church Farm Sauces

Live music played throughout the afternoon. I think this was one part of the Festival that could do with a rethink next year. There was plenty of grass and seating to enjoy the music but most people left around darkness which meant the main band – the Hombres – had a pretty small audience when they came on around 6pm. Maybe finishing the music line up earlier would be a fix for next year.

‘Congrats’ to Remy Tancred on launching another food festival in the region – a sister festival  to Sample – but with more of a gourmet focus targeting food lovers from across the country much like the way the Noosa Food and Wine Festival has done in the past. I’m absolutely looking forward to next year’s Byron Bay Fine Food and Beverage Festival and I suspect tickets to the Gala Dinner are going to be hot property in 2018!

This article was written for the Australian Good Food Guide – a sponsor of the 2017 Byron Bay Fine Food and Beverage Festival.

If you enjoyed this review then read about the annual Sample Festival in Bangalow:

Sample Food Festival, Bangalow

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Chicken and Ginger Congee Recipe – 100 Mile Table Thu, 25 May 2017 03:36:22 +0000 Chicken and Ginger Congee - 100 Mile Table
Chicken and Ginger Congee – 100 Mile Table. Photo by Nelly Le Comte.

I can’t believe that Sarah Swan from 100 Mile Table café in Byron Bay let this one out of the bag. Her Chicken and Ginger Congee, has legendary status. I’ve said it before: that congee is my favourite breakfast in Byron Bay. If it was to slip off the menu for any reason there would be much ado from the congee lovers of the Shire and me. But now she’s told us how to make our own! Thanks for that, Swannie. I’ve tried the recipe a couple of times, and it’s congee-licious. But, you know what?  I still prefer the 100 Mile Table rendition to my own. It’s partly about the ritual of having the warming bowl of breakfast goodness prepared and served by someone else and it’s partly because I’m convinced the kitchen at 100 Mile Table uses some sort of congee wizardry that I’ll never be able to emulate.

I first tasted congee while on holiday in Bali about 15 years ago where it is called Bubur Ayam. I was poorly at the time, struck down by that water borne lurgy known as Bali belly. At the breakfast table in our Ubud hotel, I wasn’t especially hungry, but I wanted to eat something simple and delicate to feel nourished and soothed after an uncomfortable night. I ordered the Bubur Ayam, described on the menu as ‘chicken rice porridge’. It was perfectly humble, gentle and warming – an absolute comfort and panacea to my delicate belly.

In fact, the Bubur Ayam was so good that I ordered it every day for the rest of our holiday. I went in search of a recipe as well. I ended up purchasing Janet de Neefe’s auto-biographical cook book ‘Fragrant Rice’ which included a simple Bubur Ayam or ‘Chicken Porridge’ recipe. Reading the introduction preceding Janet’s recipe, I learned that the Balinese in fact eat Bubur Ayam  when sick to soothe a delicate tummy, fight colds and flu and to generally feel better. I was onto something!

But you don’t need to be poorly to enjoy this Chicken and Ginger Congee recipe. Although, the soothing ginger and comforting nature of the dish do work wonders. Sarah’s version is a balanced blend of savoury Asian flavour, creamy rice and gently poached chicken. It’s topped with thinly sliced green shallots for freshness and crispy fried eschallots to add texture and richness. The congee is great served with some deeply intense chill sauce for heat and, if you are wanting to gild the lily, add a fried egg on top Nasi Goreng style

‘Big ups’ to Swannie for sharing her Chicken and Ginger Congee recipe in the latest edition of the Byron Bay Cookbook: a taste of the region published by Remy Tancred Nelly Le Comte. It’s a great recipe to make for a Winter breakfast in place of oats. You can make a batch and gently reheat it the next day or two for ‘instant porridge’ and a feel good breakfast. 

Byron Bay a Taste of the Region Cookbook Cover

Here are some more recipes for you to download from Byron Bay’s favourite Chefs:

Byron Bay Love Cake Recipe: Sam Gowing

Fisherman’s Eggs Recipe: The Mez Club

Chicken and Ginger Congee Recipe - 100 Mile Table
Servings4 people
  • 2cups cooked jasmine rice
  • 200g boneless chicken thigh fillet, diced
  • 2tbsp ginger, julienne
  • 1good slug shaoxing
  • 1good slug light soy sauce
  • 1/2tsp sesame oil
  • finely sliced shallots, to serve
  • fried eschallots, to serve
  • cracked white pepper, to serve
  • chilli sauce, to serve
  1. Put the rice into a small-medium saucepan and cover with cold water. The water needs to be about 2cm above the top of the rice. Place over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the diced chicken and ginger along with the shaoxing, soy and sesame oil, stir well and simmer 4 to 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
  2. Taste the congee to make sure all the flavours are just right. All soys taste a little different and have differing levels of salt so it is important to always taste your congee to make sure it balances. The texture should be almost soupy, not dry.
  3. Serve the congee into 4 bowls and top each with fresh and fried eschallots and a pinch of pepper. Serve your favourite chilli sauce on the side.
Recipe Notes

Note from Sarah Swan: I occasionally like to serve a soft fried egg on top of the congee.

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10 Things to Eat in Byron Bay Right Now Thu, 18 May 2017 03:38:31 +0000 The Bread Social 10 Things to East in Byron Bay Right NowThe Australian Good Food Guide asked me to write a piece about the regional food and flavours of Byron Bay in the lead up to the inaugural Byron Bay Fine Food and Beverage Festival. I decided to narrow it down to just 10 Things to Eat in Byron Bay Right Now – which was  a tough task. This place we call home really does have it all when it comes to food. Byron Bay and the surrounding hinterland has some of the best food growers, producers and chefs you will find. It’s a foodie cornucopia! The Farmers’ Markets stock local gourmet and organic staples like cheese, coffee, fruit and vegetables and pasture raised meats. The dining scene includes a neat list of outstanding cafés, bars and restaurants where the chefs are friends with their growers and their customers. Then there are the pop ups, roaming restaurants and the calendar of endless food lovers’ events that would keep any legitimate foodie sated – almost. To give you a taste of the region, I have done the hard yards for you and put together my personal – and evolving – list of 10 Things to Eat in Byron Bay Right Now. Bon Appètit!

10 Things to Eat in Byron Bay Congee
Congee – 100 Mile Table

1. Congee – 100 Mile Table

You can keep your acai bowls, this simple, soothing bowl is my favourite breakfast in Byron Bay. On the menu at 100 Mile Table, tucked away in the Byron Bay Industrial Estate, should ‘The Congee’ ever slip off the menu there would be a commotion. It’s a ginger and chicken version topped with a fried egg if you are in the mood. You must enjoy it with the house made chilli sauce which packs some heat so add with caution.

2. Southern Fried Chicken – The Stockpot Kitchen

The Stockpot Kitchen is a family friendly bistro at the Bangalow Bowlo – a quick drive up the hill from Byron Bay. The bistro is famous for its Traditional Smokehouse BBQ and legendary Hamburgers but it’s the Southern Fried Chicken Night every Thursday that is a perpetual sell out. This golden and crunchy chicken has earned a reputation among locals as ‘crack chicken’ for its alleged addictive powers. The chicken is served with your choice of two sides. I can recommend the Crinkle Chips and Aioli with Kale and Apple Slaw combo or the Tater Tots and Aioli with Chow Chow.

10 Things to Eat in Byron Bay Portuguese Tart
Portuguese Tart – The Bread Social at The Farm

3. Sourdough – The Bread Social

Traditional or Spelt and Walnut are my go to sourdough selections here, but all the artisan delights from The Bread Social bakery are ‘off the Richter Scale’ good. The bakery is out at The Farm in Ewingsdale where the bread and baked treats are sold on site in the Three Blue Ducks Produce Store. If you feel like something sweeter – try an oversized Portuguese Tart. They are bigger than your regular version – think the size of a pie tin. The blistered custard filling is unctuous and laden with vanilla while the pastry is buttery and golden. You’ll thank me later for this recommendation.

4. The Schnitty Sanga – Fleet

This is a sandwich like no other from one of the best dining establishments in the region: Fleet in Brunswick Heads. Josh prepares and crumbs veal sweetbread which is golden fried and served between rounds of soft, fluffy white bread with a lashing of anchovy mayonnaise. Enjoy it for a late lunch or snack with one of Astrid’s handpicked wines from the restaurant’s exceptional and fluid wine list or with a classic cocktail mixed at the bar by Rob.

10 Things to Eat in Byron Bay Bucha of Byron Kombucha
Kombucha – Bucha of Byron

5. Kombucha – Bucha of Byron

There’s Kombuchas and then there’s Kombuchas, if you get my drift. Some taste like dirty dishwater others taste like funky cold tea. Then there is the Bucha of Byron Kombucha – a light, sparkling version that’s refreshing and good for you as well! It reminds me a bit of a light ginger beer but it tastes even better. It’s available in bottles and on tap in many local cafés and restaurants and across the border as well.

6. Local Cheese – Nimbin Valley Dairy or Cheeses Loves You

Both of these local cheese businesses have weekly stalls at the Byron Bay and Mullumbimby Famers Markets. Soft goat cheeses are a speciality from Nimbin Valley Dairy and they also sell goat milk. But make sure you try their Blue Cow cheese – it’s my hands down favourite. Cheeses Loves You has a changing array of jersey cheeses, butters and milks. I love the dainty little creamy Brie cheeses wrapped in greaseproof paper or the Haloumi in brine, but if there is a hard cheese like the Tilsit, take a slice of that too.

10 Things to Eat in Byron Bay Popeye Om
Shakshuka and Popeye Om – Luscious Foods

7. Popeye Om Woodfired Omelette – Luscious Foods 

Luscious Foods is one of the best kept secrets in Byron Bay. The Middle Eastern style café is in the Arts and Industrial Estate. The wood fired oven is the star and it’s hard to go past the Popeye Om Woodfired Omelette for breakfast featuring two eggs, homemade pesto, spinach, black olives, feta and caramelised onion served with tabouli, rocket, hummus and organic sourdough bread. For lunch try the Sabieek pocket- a wood fired pita bread filled with mango pickle, hummus, tahini, eggplant, free-range hard-boiled egg and tabouli.

8. Salumi – Salumi Australia

My favourite fermented food! From spreadable salamis like Nduja to sausage shaped Salame and whole muscle cuts like Pancetta, Salumi Australia’s award winning range is a locals’ favourite. My choices are the Salame Finocchiona – a garlic and fennel infused salami and the delicate Lonza – a Peppercorn and Juniper Berry cured and aged pork loin.

10 Things to Eat in Byron Bay Francisco's Table
Roaming Restaurant – Francisco’s Table

9. Roaming Restaurant – Francisco’s Table

Franciso’s Table is a popular roaming restaurant hosting pop up lunches and dinners in country halls and settings throughout the Byron Shire. Argentinian Chef Francisco Smoje and his partner Emma Byrne host the events. The dining style is shared tables and the menus always have an element of surprise. One thing you can be guaranteed of is an abundant experience based on local ingredients. For Francisco and Emma, Francisco’s Table is about sharing their passion for presenting local food and relaxed hospitality with their guests.

10 Things to Eat in Byron Bay Pork Taco Chihuahua Taqueria
Taco Time – Chihuahua Taqueria

10. Pork Taco – Chihuahua Taqueria

Served from a little hole in the wall in Feros Arcade in downtown Byron Bay, these are some of the tastiest tacos you will find. The organic blue corn and white corn tortillas are from local business Doña Cholita. Chihuahua Taqueria also uses local, free range, antibiotic and hormone free meats while the fish is fresh daily and caught locally. The Cerdo or Pork Taco is my hands down favourite. It is abundant with rich pulled pork meat, balanced by a pineapple and roast pepper salsa and chipotle aioli. Plus, there is the bonus of some crunchy crackling for garnish. What’s not to love?

If you liked this post by Get Forked and Fly then you might like these:

Chihuahua Taqueria, Byron Bay: Review

Luscious Foods Byron Bay: Review

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Nectarine Crumble Recipe Thu, 04 May 2017 03:17:19 +0000 Nectarine Crumble Recipe

This Nectarine Crumble Recipe has its roots back in 1999 when Mr GFAF and I were visiting Byron Bay for our honeymoon. It rained a whole lot during those two weeks and so we spent a fair bit of time behind the wheel exploring the magnificent hinterland. I did my share to support the local roadside stall holders during those ‘destination nowhere’ drives, which was a bit ridiculous given that we were staying in boutique accommodation where the onsite Chef prepared daily gourmet breakfasts for the guests and there were oodles of restaurants and cafés nearby ready to explore. I just can’t resist a roadside stall!

One afternoon following one such drive through the hillls, we returned to our digs with a couple of string bags of delicious nectarines that I had gathered from who knows where. Having already had our fill on the journey home, I decided to gift the remainder of the nectarines to the Chef to share with the other guests. She gladly accepted our offering and we retired to our room with some champagne and the remnants of sunset.

The next morning was dreary and grey and quite cold for a November day. We ventured out to our balcony to watch the weather and the trail of eager runners and walkers making their pilgrimage to the Lighthouse while we waited for our daily breakfast delivery. At 8am there was a knock at the door along with the sweet smell of freshly brewed coffee and something else delicious on the breakfast tray.

The Chef had used our nectarine glut to prepare individual pots of nectarine crumble for the guests’ daily breakfast menu! The crumble was warm and sweet and fragrant with vanilla and cinnamon. If that wasn’t decadent enough, there was a generous scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream on the side. We dined outside on the balcony in the cold under a rug and turned our backs on the exercise enthusiasts as we enjoyed dessert for breakfast. Sensational!

Now, when stone fruit season arrives, I still like to collect string bags of local nectarines when I can, although it is getting harder to find them.  When I do have a nectarine surplus or when we have Summertime guests, my Nectarine Crumble Recipe is always a standard dessert – served with vanilla ice cream of course!

P.S. This version is Gluten Free as I have used Almond Meal in place of Plain Flour. If you want to use flour instead, use 150g and add a teaspoon of Baking Powder. 

Nectarine Crumble Recipe
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
  • 12 Nectarines
  • 45g Butter
  • 1/4 cup Caster Sugar
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Crumble Topping
  • 1/4cup Brown Sugar
  • 200g Almond Meal
  • 60g Unsalted Butterplus extra for greasing the ramekins
  • 3tablespoons Desiccated Coconut
  • 3 tablespoons Flaked Almonds
  1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Using a sharp knife, slice four sides from each of the nectarines. Cut as close to the stone as you can to ensure you get all the flesh.
  3. Add the butter, caster sugar, water and vanilla extract to a medium sized saucepan and gently heat for a minute or two, stirring until the butter has melted.
  4. Add the nectarine pieces to the saucepan and cook gently for a further 10 minutes until the nectarines are soft but not falling apart. Remove from the heat.
  5. To make the crumble topping, rub the unsalted butter into the brown sugar and almond meal. Gently stir in the coconut and flaked almonds.
  6. Take six one-cup capacity ramekins and lightly grease with extra butter. Divide the nectarines among the six ramekins.
  7. Top each ramekin of nectarines with the crumble topping.
  8. Place the ramekins on a baking tray and cook in the oven for 15 -18 minutes.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least five minutes before serving with your favourite vanilla ice-cream.
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Orgasmic Food Byron Bay: Review Thu, 27 Apr 2017 03:16:33 +0000 Orgasmic Food Byron Bay Falafel Pocket

Orgasmic Food Byron Bay has a big name to live up to.

Remember the scene when Sally and Harry dined in Katz’s Deli on the Lower East Side of New York? Of course you do! But do you remember what they were eating or were you too distracted by the …um … discourse? Well, flip the story on its head when dining in at Orgasmic Food Byron Bay where the Middle Eastern food served seven days is worth remembering, but the surroundings are somewhat distracting.

Orgasmic Food Byron Bay
Orgasmic Food in Bay Lane Byron Bay

Orgasmic Food is located halfway along Bay Lane in the heart of Byron Bay where diners unfortunately overlook the garbage skips, beer kegs and pallets at the rear of The Beach Hotel opposite. It’s a real pity that something can’t be worked out here to hide the pub’s utilities for the sake of all the businesses that share the laneway space. Bay Lane is a busy thoroughfare for pedestrians, diners and traffic with some quality eateries, but I’m not sure that using the space for the pub’s storage and garbage gathering is an ideal advertisement for clean and green Byron Bay.

If you haven’t dined at Orgasmic Food Byron Bay before you might still know it as the café that hands out free tastings of crunchy and delicious falafel balls at the end of Bay Lane. Aproned waitresses frequently stand on the corner with trays of fresh falafel ball offerings that seduce many a passer-by on their way to the top pub – including me. In fact, Mr GFAF and I have been known to cross Jonson Street to sneak a falafel snack as they are famously good.

Orgasmic Food, Byron Bay is one of the longest standing eateries in Bay Lane. It’s starting to show around the edges a bit but there’s nothing that a fresh lick of paint, some ambient features and a general tidy couldn’t refresh. The menu remains classic and authentic and Orgasmic Food remains a reliable choice to dine in or takeaway when the craving for an authentic falafel pocket or Middle Eastern platter strikes.

Speaking of  Falafel Pockets,  they would have to be one of the most popular items on the menu, with half and full size options available. I don’t think I’ve ever ordered the half size – not because it’s small -just because I like to eat a whole one! They are made using traditional pita bread brimming with falafel balls, sauerkraut, hummus, pickles, tomato and cucumber salad, lettuce, salsa and tahini sauce and they hit the spot.

Orgasmic Falafel Pocket
The Falafel Pocket – Orgasmic Food

If falafels aren’t your thing, there are other pocket options. The smoky Baba Ghanoush or the traditional Sabich with a boiled egg would satisfy any vegetarian. You can also order non-vegetarian pockets with Chicken Schnitzel, Skewered Chicken, Beef Kofta or Lamb Skewer fillings.  And, if you’re especially hungry the ‘pockets’ can be served as ‘plates’ which are more substantial again.

Orgasmic Food Byron Bay Lamb Plate
Lamb Plate

There are other delicious Mezze style options on the menu at Orgasmic Food as well, including platters of Middle Eastern dips and salads to share as sides or starters and larger sized platters with ‘the works’ to feed two to four people.

For dessert there are traditional delicate Middle Eastern pastries which you can enjoy with turkish coffee, mint tea or chai.

Orgasmic Food is BYO and there just happens to be a bottle shop across the road if necessary. But I would also recommend you try the Homemade Lemonade with Rosewater and Mint for a refreshing sip.

You can dine in or takeaway and you can even buy some of Orgasmic Food’s falafel mix to take home! They can also cater your private functions.

Next time you spot the waitress at the end of Bay Lane with her free falafel offerings I recommend you do one better and turn down Bay Lane to try some more of Orgasmic Food, Byron Bay’s traditional Middle Eastern cuisine. Don’t expect a five star view, but the food is worth remembering.

P.S. They were eating a pastrami sandwich.


Falafel Pocket – $13.50 or Half $8.00

Lamb Skewer Pocket – $20

Mega Platter – $55 (2 people) , $79 (3 people), $99 (4 people)  

Corkage $1.50 per person

Some other Get Forked and Fly Reviews

Tullys Suffolk Park: Review

Milk Bar Brunswick Heads: Review

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Goodness Breakkie Recipe: Safya, Byron Bay Thu, 13 Apr 2017 04:16:42 +0000
Goodness Breakkie Recipe Safya Byron Bay
photo courtesy of Safya, Byron Bay

This little Goodness Breakkie recipe from Safya café is the perfect example of a classic Byron Bay breakfast. It’s full of goodness, it’s gluten free and it’s worthy remuneration after a spin up to the lighthouse, a salute to the sun or a splash in the morning surf. You might even say it’s a bit ‘pure’.

Safya, which translates as ‘pure’, is an Egyptian inspired restaurant on the corner of Bay Lane and Fletcher Street in Byron Bay. The menu is a delicious blend of Middle Eastern flavours and healthy contemporary eats that are absolutely du jour in Byron Bay. Safya’s recipes, like this Goodness Breakkie recipe, are free from preservatives and the ingredients are locally sourced, seasonal and organic wherever possible.  Totally pure.

Breakfast and lunch are served at Safya seven days a week. Dinner is also served from Thursday through to Sunday. It’s a family-run restaurant and many of the traditional Egyptian recipes on the menu, such as the house made Mama’s Falafel, have been in the owners’ family for three generations while others, like this Goodness Breakkie recipe, are contemporary adaptations.  

The Goodness Breakkie is a blend of traditional Middle Eastern flavours with a contemporary influence. There are a lot of layers, starting with warm quinoa as the foundation to which you add colour with cranberries, spinach and feta cheese and some crunch with toasted pepitas. The Goodness Breakkie is then dressed in a light, lemon and sumac dressing. The citrus freshness marries the quinoa salad ingredients and provides a gentle acidity that cuts through the golden poached egg yolks. A dusting of zatar to finish the dish gives the Goodness Breakkie recipe an earthy and warming finish.

If you are enjoying the Goodness Breakkie in house at Safya, why not sip on a Moroccan Mint tea or house made kookie’s Kombucha to keep the healthy theme going and to aid your digestion. Or try the house specialty – the Tamr Hendi. It’s a cool drink made by massaging and infusing tangy tamarind with rosewater and rice malt syrup that’s then served over ice with rose petal and mint adornments. It has a sweet and sour profile that is delicious. 

Enjoy this Goodness Breakkie Recipe from Safya Byron Bay and then head down to their restaurant to sample some more of their Egyptian meets Byron Bay dishes.

Download these other Byron Bay Recipes:

Byron Bay Love Cake Recipe: Sam Gowing

Japanese-Style Marinated Salmon, Pickled Cucumber and Radish Salad Recipe: Belinda Jeffery

Goodness Breakkie Recipe: Safya, Byron Bay
Servings1 person
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Quinoa Salad:
  • 1 1/2cups warm quinoa
  • small handful toasted pepitas and dried cranberries
  • crumbled feta cheese
  • handful english spinach
  • oven roasted cherry tomatoes
  • Himalayan salt
  • olive oil
  • Himilayan salt
  • lemon juice
  • sumac
To serve:
  • 2 poached eggs
  • olive oil
  • zatar
  1. Gently combine the quinoa, pepitas, dried cranberries, feta cheese, English spinach and cherry tomatoes in a serving bowl.
  2. Add the dressing ingredients to a jar. Seal the jar and shake to combine. Lightly dress the quinoa salad and salt to taste.
  3. Prepare two poached eggs and serve on top of the quinoa salad. Drizzle of olive oil and dusting of zatar.
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Balcony Bar and Oyster Co. : Review Thu, 06 Apr 2017 04:39:01 +0000 Balcony Bar and Oyster Co Verandah

It would be fair to say that the Balcony Bar and Oyster Co. up on the second floor at number 3 Lawson Street is one of Byron Bay’s most popular dining and drinks destinations for travellers. Whether it’s for a weekend breakfast watching the town come to life, a lingering lunch on the breezy verandah or a sunset cocktail with freshly shucked oysters before dinner, The Balcony is always a popular choice.

Balcony StairsI’ve been visiting the venue for years. Way back in 1999, when it was a similar styled casual bar and bistro named Mango Jam, Mr GFAF and I would climb the timber stairs for “fivesies” while we were staying in Byron Bay on our honeymoon. We moved here 18 months later. During the next 15 years the venue would have several incarnations, but its latest version as the Balcony Bar and Oyster Co. seems to have hit the highest mark for travellers and locals alike.

Balcony Bar and Oyster Co. InteriorOwners Fraser Short and Executive Chef Sean Connelly transformed the venue during 2016 into a stylish bar and restaurant. It’s still breezy and relaxed, with freshly whitewashed walls and a seaside vibe. The décor includes lush tropical plants and timber surfaces with nautically themed furnishings, paintings and paraphernalia throughout. There is seating inside as well as out on the verandah, where the daybed lounges are perfect for shared dining and drinks for groups.

I’ll start with The Balcony’s drinks list as the bar is definitely a drawcard for if you’re not in the mood for a sticky table or rowdy session at one of the local pubs. The list begins with a neat selection of cocktails all cleverly named and perfect for pretending you’re on holidays if you’re not. My favourite is the Jinny Hendricks featuring Hendricks Gin and elderflower liqueur with muddled cucumber and juniper berries. Ask for a A Cracking Good Thyme featuring local Ink Gin, peach liqueur, peach puree and tonic. The wine list that follows features Australian and imported varieties. The same goes for the beer list. There is a daily Happy Hour from 4-6pm with specials on selected drinks – perfect for a sunset session.

If you plan on staying for dinner then I strongly recommend a reservation to avoid missing out. The dinner and lunch menus at the Balcony Bar and Oyster Co. are the same, however, so you can always come back tomorrow!

Balcony Crispy Skinned Ocean Trout
Crispy Skinned Ocean Trout

I have three favourite dishes on the regular menu at The Balcony Bar and Oyster Co. The first, and my all-time favourite, is the Crispy Skinned Ocean Trout with avocado, cucumber, watercress, sea vegetables and Japanese sesame dressing. The fish is usually pink to perfection in the middle, the skin is delightfully crisp and the sesame dressing gorgeous and savoury. If it’s a light lunch and rosé kind of day, then the Crab and Lettuce Tacos are great by the half dozen or as part of a few shared plates. The ‘taco’ shell is a lettuce leaf filled with crab meat, chardonnay vinegar, salmon caviar and fresh chilli.

Balcony Crab and Lettuce Tacos
Crab and Lettuce Tacos

If it’s a cooler night and I’m feeling like something a bit heartier, then I always go back to the Orgy of Mushroom Gnocchi. It’s a ricotta version with a variety of mixed mushrooms in a light sauce that is comforting and generous.

I always encourage Mr GFAF to order the Duck Fat Fish and Chips with mushy peas, mint and gherkin mayo for obvious reasons. Caring is sharing afterall.

Breakfast is served on weekends only. There’s a nice variety on the menu from the three egg Crab Omelette to the House Toasted Granola with coconut yoghurt and seasonal fruits to the old school One Pan Bacon and Eggs using local Richmond Valley pasture raised eggs. Like many restaurants in the Bay, Short and Connelly’s food philosophy is about supporting locally sourced and sustainable produce.

The Balcony Bar and Oyster Co. also does events well. Keep an eye out for special menu occasions like Mothers’ Day or Christmas when they always have something planned to accommodate the travellers.

Don’t miss the annual Oyster Festival or Crab Carnival when Executive Chef Sean Connelly and his team create unique recipes for a limited time only. There are always fun dishes like the Crab Carival’s King Crab Mac’n’Cheese or the Louisiana Crab Broil complete with wooden mallets, crab crackers and plastic bibs for making a right old mess.

Balcony Crab CarnivalIf you miss out on the Oyster Festival, The Balcony Bar and Oyster Co. serves $1 oysters every Wednesday from 5 – 6pm. Note – you definitely need to reserve a table. On the weekends from 2pm a giant Seafood Paella is cooked out on the verandah and served until sold out. The perfect way to spend the end of the week.

For drinks, shared plates or a sit down dinner for couples or groups, The Balcony Bar and Oyster Co. is a popular choice for good reason. I recommend making a booking to avoid disappointment.

Price Range Balcony Bar and Oyster Co.:

Breakfast: $15 – $25

Lunch / Dinner: $15 – $39 (Crab & Whoel fish at Market Prices and Communal Free Range lamb Shoulder $66)

Drinks: Cocktails $13.00-16.90

Read these other Byron Bay Food Reviews from Get Forked and Fly:

O-Sushi Byron Bay: Review

Bayleaf Café, Byron Bay: Review

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Make Your Own Granola Recipe Thu, 30 Mar 2017 02:48:53 +0000 Make Your Own Granola Recipe

I know someone who avoids muesli and granola because she thinks it tastes like horse feed. I suspect that’s got a lot to do with all those oats. At the other end of the spectrum, I know folks like me who enjoy the toasted and crunchy variety of ‘horse feed’ by the spoonful, right from the chaff bag, as a cheeky snack. There are a few excellent varieties on the store shelves but recently I tried making my own. I made some proper flops – sickly sweet and sticky ones and more than golden overbaked ones – but I really think my latest Make Your Own Granola Recipe is a game changer.

The basis for my Make Your Own Granola recipe is borrowed from epicurious. They suggest that there is a simple formula to make your own granola at home. The formula is six parts dry ingredients to one part wet ingredients. It’s that simple.

The dry ingredients can be in any balance or combination you like but you must include rolled oats as the main ingredient. Not the instant variety of oats, but the old-fashioned stir on the stove variety. To the rolled oats you can add any variety of your favourite seeds and nuts like pepitas, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, linseed, almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias and so on.

The wet ingredients need to be made up of half sweetener and half oil. For the sweetener, use your favourite honey, maple syrup or agave syrup or something similar and for the oil try extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil or grapeseed oil.

Then, the secret trick is to add a beaten egg white to the to the mix to give the granola extra crunch and a nice gloss.

You also need to add some warm spices for seasoning such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and ginger or even cacao before baking to a golden crunch. I like to stir the granola around a few times during baking to ensure it is evenly cooked with no burnt edges.

If you want to add dried fruit to your make your own granola, stir in your favourite selection while the granola is still warm from the oven. Be as experimental as you like with your combinations – think dried apricots, apples, cranberries, raisins, peaches, pineapple pieces goji berries and figs. That’s it!

Mine is a good basic Make Your Own Granola Recipe where I have used ingredients on hand in the pantry: pepitas, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts (skinned), almonds and cranberries.

Make your Own Granola Breakfast TableHere are some other good Make Your Own Granola Recipe ideas to try:

Top of the Tropical Morning – try sunflower seeds, coconut shavings, macadamias, almonds, dried pineapple and dried mango

Coco Crackle & Crunch – try pepitas, cacao, coconut shavings, hazelnuts and unsweetened banana chips.

Gourmet Granola – try linseed, hazelnuts, almonds, dried figs and dried blueberries.

 Try these other Get Forked and Fly recipes:

Cumin Roasted Carrot and Farro Pilaf with Herbed Dressing Recipe

Super Salad Sprinkle Recipe

Make Your Own Granola Recipe
Servings1.5 kilograms
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
  • 3cups rolled oatsnot the instant variety
  • 1/2cup hazelnutsskins removed
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/3cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3cup pepitas
  • 1/3 cup linseed
  • 1 cup coconut shavings
  • 1/2cup olive oil
  • 1/2cup maple syrupnot maple FLAVOURED syrup
  • 1teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1cup dried cranberries
  1. Set your oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
  2. In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together the oil, maple syrup and beaten egg white. Add this to the large bowl of dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Evenly spread your uncooked granola mix over the two baking paper lined trays.
  5. Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes. At the 10 minute mark take the trays out the oven and, using a large spoon, mix and turn the granola around to ensure it is cooking evenly.
  6. Place the trays back in the oven to finish the cooking. You want the granola to be toasted and golden but not too dark as it may taste bitter.
  7. While the granola is warm, mix through the dried cranberries. Allow the Granola to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
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Tullys Suffolk Park: Review Thu, 23 Mar 2017 03:16:44 +0000 Tullys Suffolk Park SignTullys Suffolk Park is a simple but smooth addition to breakfast and lunch options for the southern end of Byron Bay. Tucked away in the stern of the Suffolk Park Shopping Centre, if you didn’t know Tully’s existed, you might just miss it. It’s definitely a locals’ hang with regulars calling by for their daily brew or something to eat seven days a week. But Tullys also has great appeal for holidaymakers staying in the area where healthy and wholesome café fare is a bit slim.

Tullys Suffolk Park Interior

The fit out at Tullys Suffolk Park is simple and smooth as well. The palette is muted with hints of cane and peppermint. There is indoor seating for around 35 along the window seats that bookend the café, on bar stools at high tables and at communal tables. Outside there is seating on a wooden deck beneath grassy beach umbrellas that rustle in the breeze like big hula skirts. Yes, Tullys does overlook a small shopping car park used mostly by delivery drivers, but the café’s large bi-fold windows at either end serve to frame  the lush slip of rainforest, complete with roving bush turkeys and the sound of whip birds, at the rear of the café which is a nice distraction.

The menu at Tullys Suffolk Park is also simple and smooth. It’s small too, but I think the dishes have been chosen carefully. It’s about quality and interesting options rather than having too many scattered dishes on the menu and that’s something I really enjoy in a café.

For breakfast at Tullys, served from 7.00am – 11.00am, there is a solid selection including Cinnamon French Toast with berries for those with a sweet tooth, Roasted Field Mushrooms served with caramelised red onion and Persian fetta on sourdough with a herb and sprout salad for the vegetarians and Nasi Goreng made on brown rice and served with vegetables, house made chilli sauce which is like a sri racha, crispy shallots and a fried egg on top.  And the good news is that the Nasi Goreng is available for lunch as well.

Tullys Suffolk Park Roasted Field Mushrooms
Roasted Field Mushrooms


Tullys Suffolk Park Nasi Goreng
The Nasi Goreng

For lunch, served from 11.30am – 2.00pm there is a Pumpkin and Persian Fetta Tart made with an almond crust and served with a ‘petit’ salad and balsamic dressing. The salad is anything but petit, instead it is fresh and generous. There is also a Steak Sambo of grilled sirloin with seeded mustard, aioli, aged cheddar, red onion jam and rocket for when hunger strikes. But you must try the Pork Belly Burger made with succulent pieces of braised pork belly served with Asian style slaw, chilli jam, mayo, fried shallots lime served on a warm bun. You won’t find much better.

Tullys Suffolk Park Pumpkin and Persian Fetta Tart
Pumpkin and Persian Fetta Tart
Tullys Suffolk Park Pork Belly Burger
the Pork Belly Burger

There are also croissants, pastries, cakes and takeaway salads in the glass cabinet. For breakfast try the Bacon, Egg and Cheese Roll Coffee Combo and keep an eye out for menu specials as well.

The coffee at Tully’s is by Moonshine Roasters from Federal. In the drinks cabinet they also have the local Bucha of Byron Kombucha and Mount Warning Spring Water as well as other selections.

Bucha of Byron Kombucha at Tully's Suffolk ParkFor quality eats in a quiet corner of southern Byron Bay make sure you head to Tullys  Suffolk Park and don’t miss the Pork Belly Burger.


Breakfast: $16 – $22
Lunch: $16 – $24

Read these other Byron Bay reviews

Warung Bagus Byron Bay: Review

Combi Byron Bay Review


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