Kicking back in the breeze under blue skies, the warm, midday sunshine and swaying palm trees at the Treehouse on Belongil in Byron Bay you could be at some faraway tropical idyll on the other side of the world. The sound of the rolling surf from behind the grassy sand dunes across the road is only interrupted by quiet tête-à-têtes in foreign accents from international travellers in conversation. They surface from the backpacker style digs next door to meet and chat about their upcoming travel plans to Fraser Island or Sydney while tapping at their mobile devices to catch up with home. At other tables across the courtyard there are small groups of locals who come to the Treehouse on Belongil for lunch to retreat from the madding crowds of Byron Bay’s centre and enjoy a bite or a coffee or drink in quiet company.
Treehouse on Belongil or ‘The Treehouse’, as locals know it, is on Childe Street at Belongil Beach – a 15-minute walk from the Byron Bay CBD. Tucked away in a tropical garden oasis, you really are in a house among the trees and it’s private courtyard complete with lounges and coffee tables. It’s open seven days a week from 7.30am – 11.00pm and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as café drinks and eats if you’re not after a meal and there is also a fully licensed bar. The menu is relaxed and a mix between a bistro and a café but the meals have a nice little finesse as well.
I have a confession to make though. Many, well maybe most of my visits to the Treehouse on Belongil have been for a drink and a wood fired pizza. You see The Treehouse is the perfect venue for after work drinks with friends followed by a laid back shared pizza or even a takeaway for home. The wood fired oven is kept busy at night turning out some fine pizzas with homemade napoli sauce and an interesting variety or topping combinations using local ingredients.
It’s hard to pick a favourite pizza but if you’re vegetarian I would recommend the Pumpkinita featuring roast pumpkin, red onion, pine nuts, spinach, rocket, parmesan, mozzarella and balsamic reduction. A lot of people don’t do seafood pizzas – nor pineapple for that matter – but I think the Life Aquatic is a good version featuring mussels, prawns and fish with red onion, kalamata olives, garlic oil, chilli flakes and mozzarella. It’s not fishy and there are no anchovies! If you’re a meat lover, then the Hostal Coronas featuring marinated lamb, capsicum, kalamata olives, spinach, mozzarella and tzatziki will satisfy. A nice idea during daylight savings especially is to order your pizza takeaway and head across the road to enjoy it in the park with the family or even on the sandy dunes as the sun sets.
For breakfast at Treehouse on Belongil try the Breakfast Tacos with bacon, a free-range egg, tomato, jalapeños, avocado salsa and coriander, lime and aioli on a blue corn Doña Cholita tortilla or the Vege Breakfast Bowl made with quinoa, beetroot, tomato, mushroom, kale, spinach, preserved lemon free range egg and avocado.
Lunch is served from midday to 4pm. I can recommend the Salt and Pepper Calamari served with brown rice, kale, snow peas, tomato, fresh herb salad with pickled red cabbage and a miso maple dressing. Keep an eye on the Daily Specials Board as well for dishes like the Seared Duck Salad duck salad with cherry tomatoes, hazelnuts, quinoa, broccoli, mixed leaf, goat cheese and balsamic dressing.
If it’s more drinks and tapas you are after there are share plates every day from 4pm. Try the Zucchini Pakoras with mint and coriander yoghurt dressing, tomato kasundi and fresh herb salad or the Spring Bay Mussels with garlic, cider, fresh tomato, basil and charred organic sourdough.
Dinner is from 5.30pm with dishes such as the Grass-fed Angus Slow Cooked Beef Cheek on brown rice with toasted almonds, currants, parsley, lemon, steamed kale, broccoli, snow peas, pickled red cabbage and tzatzitki of the Locally Sourced Market Fresh Fish.
If you’re at Treehouse on Belongil on Thursday to Saturday night or Sunday afternoon there is always live and original music to enjoy. It can get quite busy in the evenings and on Sundays so think about making a table reservation.
While you listen to the music you can enjoy a drink from the fully licensed bar that serves delicious cocktails to make you feel like you are on holidays in a tropical hideaway. There is also a good-sized drinks list of local and international wines by the glass and bottle as well as beers and ciders on tap and in bottles. Of course, there are non-alcoholic drinks as well including cold pressed juices and coffees.
Treehouse on Belongil is a great place to get away from the crowds and enjoy a relaxing interval in a tropical setting. Do try the pizzas but make sure you go back and explore the rest of menu. Any excuse to take some time out with a drink and some eats and pretend you’re on an exotic holiday halfway round the world.