This iced drink is called a Tamr Hendi and it is one of the most refreshing sips I have supped. It’s 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 quenching and refreshing. Tamr Hendi is a drink traditionally served by the nomadic Bedouins of the western dessert of Egypt, but if that’s too far to travel, I can recommend you try a glass anytime at the Egyptian inspired café Safya Byron Bay.
Safya Byron Bay is a new little Egyptian inspired oasis on the corner of Bay Lane and Fletcher Street. It is a family-run café that blends traditional recipes with contemporary flavours and ingredients. Safya means ‘pure’ and the café owners aim to serve a menu of simple, honest food with warm hospitality and pure intent. Many of the traditional Egyptian recipes on the menu have been in the owners’ family for three generations while others are contemporary adaptations. The recipes are free from preservatives and the ingredients are locally sourced, seasonal and organic wherever possible. You can’t ask for much purer than that.
Safya’s fitout is styled on the Siwa Oasis in Egypt; a fertile dessert oasis of ruins set below sea level among shady groves of olive and palm trees. The café walls at Safya are reminiscent of an ancient, hand moulded cavern and the interior is adorned with niches, artefacts and bold lantern lighting. There are simple tables inside and out with a breezy window seat made comfortable with oversized woven cushions. Outside there are small café tables with umbrellas for shade and footpath dining at larger benches and tables.
The menu at Safya Byron Bay includes breakfast, brunch, lunch and kids options available from 6.30am – 4.00pm seven days a week. On the Egyptian side of the breakfast menu there are dishes such as classic Shakshuka which you can have with Sardines or Mama’s falafel plate – a serving of house made falafel, creamy labne and dukkha with two free range poached eggs, green tahini, fresh tomato and toasted flatbread. The green tahini dressing is fresh and vibrant and brings the dish together and the flatbread is perfect as a vessel for eating with your fingers. The Cairo Eggs are a standout. The dish starts with a toasted flat bread that is topped with two fried eggs cooked in a cumin infused burnt butter topped with Mama’s falafels, labne and fresh mint. I could order this one again and again. Other less Egyptian styled breakfast dishes include the Summer Granola and the Goodness Breakkie. I’ll share the Goodness Breakkie recipe with you soon on Get Forked and Fly!
For brunch and lunch try the refreshing Siwa Salad of watermelon, pickled red onion, roasted pistachio, sesame, feta, rosewater, lime and sumac. The Mamas Falafel Wrap is a simple wrap made with clay oven baked flat bread filled with falafel, labne, tomato, greens and green tahni. It’s on the smaller side so if you’re after something ampler try the slow Braised Beef Brisket wrap filled with brisket that’s been marinated slowly in smoky paprika along with cabbage and cultured beet slaw, herbs and sundried tomato aioli. Other less Egyptian dishes include the Steak Sandwich (available from 12pm) and the Halloumi Wrap with fresh tomato, homemade pesto and rocket inside pita bread.
Safya offers the usual coffee selections as well as Chemex pour offer coffee and Cold Drip extraction. There are several teas including a lovely Moroccan Mint that is a refreshing blend of Sencha green tea and mint and was perfect with food. There are also cold press juices, smoothies and other cold house made drinks. Try Kookie’s Kombucha which is flavoured with something new every week.
For Egyptian inspired food in a little oasis near the beach try Safya Byron Bay. Make sure you sip on a Tamr Hendi for refreshment as it’s my new favourite daytime drink.
Price Range at Safya Byron Bay
Breakfast: $10 (Free Range Eggs w Bread) – $20 (Shakshuka and Mama’s Falafel Plate)
Brunch / Lunch: $6 (Toast and spread) $11 (Haloumi Wrap) $19 Steak Sandwich
Cold Drinks: $7 Kombucha $8 Tamr Hendi $9 Smoothie