Sitting under clear blue skies and the shade of a striped beach umbrella in the colourful courtyard adjoining the newly restored Brunswick Picture House, it was hard to think of a more perfect place to spend a sunny Autumn Sunday morning than in the seaside village of Brunswick Heads. Just a 15-minute drive from iconic Byron Bay, Brunswick Heads is ‘where it’s at’ right now thanks to an influx of fresh eateries and new shops and attractions over the past couple of years. No longer just the sleepy seaside destination for family holiday campers, Brunswick Heads is now a place for day-trippers to spend the day browsing, dining, swimming and relaxing without having to venture into the Byron Bay tangle.
The Brunswick Picture House and Café is one of the most recent newcomers to this burgeoning scene. Having undergone a loving restoration, the former Brunswick Pictures building on downtown Fingal Street has been revived after a 30 year hiatus and is now a venue for circus performance, cabaret, cinema, comedy and of course the Brunswick Picture House Café.
The café, which is located at the front of the Picture House building, is open Wednesday to Sunday from 7.00am – 3.00pm. The Picture House screens weekly Family movies on Sundays at 4pm and Grown Up movies on Thursdays at 6pm. There are also regular cabaret nights and special events too, so make sure you take a look at the programme on their website at www.brunswickpicturehouse.com
Most of the café seating is outside in the courtyard while there are a few tables on the front patio and also indoors. The café décor is fabulously retro featuring outdoor settings reminiscent of my 70s and 80s childhood decorated with fresh cushions umbrellas and bright tablecloths. There’s plenty of shade to enjoy but you can choose to a table for soaking up the rays too.
To eat there is one all day menu that offers a mix of retro meets more modern café style eats that work well for breakfast or lunch or in between. There are old school classics such as Boiled Eggs with Turkish Soldiers or – one of my childhood favourites – the Spag Boll Jaffle, which is a bolognese sauce with spaghetti and parmesan cheese inside a toasted sandwich. It was delicious and I didn’t burn my tongue! Some other Jaffle flavours are Vegemite with a Three Cheese Sauce and a house made Dahl with Raita and Relish.
At the other end of the spectrum is the more modern than retro Nomelette, which is an Asian style noodle omelette served with a bean shoot salad, lime, palm sugar dressing and crispy shallots. It’s light and tangy and hits the spot. Another stand out dish I can recommend is the Haloumi and Zucchini Fritters. They arrive served on a thin slice of Turkish bread with a poached egg, spinach and herbs with chutney and a delicious lentil fritter that was an unexpected but an ‘OMG, can I please have another one?’ surprise. The fritters were priced at $14 and Mr GFAF and I commented on how much we would have to pay at one of downtown Byron Bay’s Sunday brunch establishments for a similar, probably less tasty, rendition. Other ‘modern’ menu tastes include a Fish Buttie of fresh reef fish fillet served on a soft white roll with shaved cos lettuce and house tartare or the Pulled Pork sandwich served on Turkish with apple slaw and rocket. For those with a sweeter tooth there are Vanilla Pancakes three ways which the kids would love. Keep an eye out for the cute fish plates when your meal arrive toos!
To drink, the Brunswick Picture House Café serves a local coffee brew from Mullumbimby’s The Branches Coffee Roasters. There is also a good selection of café style hot and cool drinks and house made smoothies. From the smoothie menu I can recommend the Choc Cherry blend of cherries, cacao and coconut water and coconut pieces to keep you going for the day. There are freshly baked sweet and savoury treats inside too – just ask for the daily selection.
The Brunswick Picture House and its Café are a charming addition to the Brunswick Heads landscape. I absolutely enjoy its quirky blend of retro revival and modern flavours. For me, the café is holding a mirror up to Brunswick Heads; reflecting the quaint qualities that the seaside holiday town is firmly holding onto while sneaking in some fresh additions to keep things interesting. Make sure you visit soon!
Meals priced from $7- $16
Large Coffee $5