For contemporary Middle Eastern cuisine I have fallen head over heels for local café Luscious Foods Byron Bay. Although, it’s not a fleeting or sudden affection, as I have been a fan of Luscious Foods as a weekday lunch spot for quite a while. Some Summer days I have sat in the shady courtyard under the palm trees and enjoyed generous and flavoursome salads with foodie friends, while on other days I have sampled traditional pide and pizzas from the wood fired oven as a takeaway option. But it wasn’t until recently that I finally made the time to call into Luscious Foods for breakfast. I had been crushing on the café’s Middle Eastern breakfast menu for some time. So I took Mr GFAF along with me and we both agreed that it was absolutely love at first bite.
The breakfast menu at Luscious Foods Byron Bay is a blend of typical contemporary café fare alongside traditional Middle Eastern options. You can play it safe with choices like the house made Bircher Muesli or a Bacon and Egg Roll but we were there to try something new.
He couldn’t go past the ever popular Shakshuka and I went for the Popeye Om. The Shakshuka was as good as expected. This dish of two eggs poached in a sweet and aromatic capsicum and tomato sauce came served on a wooden presentation board with homemade pita bread from the wood fired oven, a labneh side and optional coriander chilli. It ticked all the boxes for a splendid Shakshuka.
The ‘Popeye’ reference in the Popeye Om is all about spinach and the ‘Om’ is simply short for ‘omelette’. The two egg omelette is made with pesto, spinach, black olives, feta and caramelised onion and is served with labneh, a zaatar spice blend, a refreshing tabouli and rocket salad and toasted organic sourdough. I can’t think of anywhere else locally that is serving Middle Eastern omelettes from a wood fired oven for breakfast. Believe me when I recommend that you really need to try this dish. It’s up there with one of the tastiest breakfast I have tried in Byron Bay.
The day of our breakfast at Luscious Foods Byron Bay we were two of a small handful of people who were eating or calling in for coffee. It was quiet, not just because of the slow trade, but because there was no traffic noise or crowds passing by. The courtyard was really peaceful, which came as a bit of a surprise because if you have been to Luscious Foods for lunch recently, you know that it is always packed to the rafters.
The lunchtime menu at Luscious Foods has something for all tastes. Beginning with the non-Middle Eastern menu there are fresh baguettes, burgers and salad options. The Chipotle Chicken Salad is light but filling with a generous amount of spiced grilled chicken breast served over a salad of mixed greens, chickpeas, cranberries, roasted sweet potato, broccolini and spiced pistachio with a chipotle yoghurt dressing. There are some yummy flavours working together in this dish. The Grilled Haloumi and Tabouli Salad with spinach, rocket, roast pumpkin, orange segments, capsicum, tabouli, tamari seeds and a generous topping of grilled haloumi served with a mint and lime dressing is a delicious and satisfying vegetarian option.
From the wood fired oven I have enjoyed the house made Pockets on a number of occasions. I love the vegetarian Sabieek which is a traditional Iraqi wood fired pita bread pocket filled with home made mango pickle, hummus, tahini, eggplant, a boiled egg and tabouli. If you need meat, try the Saneeah which is filled with Egyptian style lamb and beef, caramelised onions, pine nuts, hummus, tahini, tabooli, quinoa salad and pickles. Be warned, the pockets are filling and once you try one you will be addicted. They are fresh and wholesome with so many textures and flavours going on.
The wood fired pizzas are also popular and are served in medium and large sizes. A medium would easily feed one person. The café uses local produce as much as possible and the cold cuts and cured meats on the pizza topping are from Salumi Australia in Billinudgel. There are vegetarian and vegan pizza options too and locals will be pleased to hear that the café is starting pizza home delivery to Ewingsdale, the Industrial Estate and Sunrise Beach.
On the drinks side there are the regular all day coffee options as well as fresh mint tea, which is refreshing, and in keeping with the Middle Eastern theme. There are also freshly squeezed juices, smoothies and drinks from the fridge.
In summer, Luscious Foods serves a Friday night dinner menu too. The menu is fairly similar to the lunchtime fare and there are regular music performances to enjoy as you relax in the outdoor courtyard while the sun sets behind you.
If you need catering for a wedding, corporate function, private event or party, Luscious Foods can do that too.
Luscious Foods is open Monday to Friday from 7.30am – 3.00pm. I’m going to spread the word about their divine breakfasts. It’s definitely a recommendation worth sharing, even if it means I can’t have the courtyard to myself anymore.
Breakfast $7 – $16
Lunch $8 – $23
Wood fired Breads $5 – $10
Wood fired Pizzas $12 – $26