When I think about the word ‘folk’ it brings to mind a people’s collective, living traditionally, a flashback to 1970s popular culture and the soundtracks of Joni Mitchell and Simon and Garfunkel. And as I settle in for a cosy lunch inside the timber accented kiosk at Folk Byron Bay, protected from the Autumn wind with the golden afternoon sun streaming in listening to Elton John’s Tiny Dancer, that’s exactly the connection I am making. The location, the décor, the playlist, the patrons and the setting here are all metaphors for the folk culture revival in one way or another – that goes for the menu too.
Folk Byron Bay is ideally located on the western side of town just off Ewingsdale Road – the main thoroughfare into the CBD, so it’s a perfect destination for locals looking for somewhere to grab a coffee, snack or a daytime meal without having to tackle the traffic in town. The location is also across the road from the popular Discovery Holiday Park, where families, grey nomads and cash-strapped camping students squish in together during holiday season and festival times when, naturally, the kiosk does a crazy busy trade. Rest assured, there is plenty of room for everyone and street parking is also plentiful so you will never be stuck for a parking space.
The décor at Folk is neat in wood and whitewash with delicious textural features such as the bespoke timber benchtops, stools and wall features. I adore indoor plants for the way they bring life indoors and at Folk they are in abundance, hanging from beaded macramé slings or seated inside woven cane baskets. Throughout the interior there are vintage pottery pieces, native floral arrangements and even a crochet blanket to borrow if there’s a chill on. Outside there are quiet spaces to sit at tables or on handcrafted stools, picnic rugs and deck spaces all among abundant herb planter boxes. There is plenty of shade under the native trees and palms with the sun peeking through from time to time and the sound of the rolling surf not far away.
In the kiosk there is a playlist streaming that I secretly love. The genre includes the Eagles, Johnny Cash and America – the sounds of the 70s pre-disco. The staff at Folk Byron Bay look far too young to remember these tunes but I guess they probably listened to the music their ‘folks’ played – maybe even on vinyl. This contemporary nostalgia that the kiosk provides subsequently draws a pretty eclectic crowd of patrons including wellness focussed beach babes, Dads on day care duty, locals on pushbikes and holiday makers from the caravan park chasing a morning brew and a bite to eat.
The menu at Folk Byron Bay is pretty unique – even by Byron standards. In case you didn’t already know, the food is vegetarian. Nope, not even bacon I’m afraid, although cheese and eggs do feature. The menu is described as plant-based – but don’t be put off by that in any way. The Folk philosophy also supports organic, local and ethical ingredients and for me that conjures up a return to tradition, a bucolic way of living and eating the way our kinfolk would have generations before. Good food comes from good ingredients and that’s what I enjoy about the menu at Folk. It’s wholesome and nutritious and tasty to boot.
The menu is the same all day with cleverly designed dishes that you can eat for breakfast, brunch or lunch. The menu changes with the seasons and the focus is currently Autumn with nine dishes to choose from. I can highly recommend the Folk Burrito which I have ordered on more than one occasion. The filling inside the burrito includes spiced biodynamic rice and quinoa, organic black beans, relish, roast pumpkin, house coriander and chilli kraut with greens. It’s a very generous serve and something I order for a satisfying lunch or to pass on my leftovers to Mr GFAF. The dish is fresh and balanced thanks to the sweet pumpkin and tangy kraut with a gentle chilli warmth that’s food for the soul.
The seasonal Abundance Bowl is always a hit with Mr GFAF, even if it is meat free. The overflowing bowl comes filled with local brown rice, organic quinoa and toasted almonds, raisins, roast pumpkin, brussel sprout, kale and apple slaw, house kraut, local greens and a poached egg. You can add haloumi too. It’s crunchy with a hint of richness from the roast pumpkin, almonds and egg that is balanced out by the slaw. Other popular dishes are the Bircher – organic chia, oat and house nut mylk style with baked cinnamon apple, chai spiced cashew cream, candied almonds, fresh fruit and mint and the Grilled Halmoumi Burger with thyme roasted field mushroom, olive and fig tapenade, cos and pickled fennel on a toasted organic bun.
The drinks menu at Folk Byron Bay is worth a visit alone. For coffee lovers, the best part is that there is no extra charge for your choice of organic milk – whether it’s dairy, almond and cashew, coconut or Bonsoy. That’s a rarity these days! The house coffee is from Dunes in Melbourne but if you prefer there are some interesting lattés including the Matcha Mesquite Antioxidant Rich Brew and the Spiced Cacao Cardamon Hot Chocolate that are sure to awaken you. On the cold drinks side there is a House Brewed Vanilla Kefir (probiotic creaming soda) and Smoothie Blends like this banana, turmeric, cacao and tahini on almond milk which Mr GFAF pimped up with a shot of chilled filter coffee. It was really delicious!
Folk Byron Bay is reviving the meaning of the ‘f’ word. The original caravan park kiosk has become a place where a collective folk interested in wholesome, simple and nutritious foods can gather. Yes, it’s vegetarian, but don’t let that stop you. The menu is contemporary and delicious, the 70s décor is smart and the soundtrack plays like the film Almost Famous. If you’re interested, there’s another member of the clan too, the baby sister to Folk is Woods Bangalow where you will enjoy a similar experience with a different view and a different clientele.
Coffee $3.80 – $6.00
Organic Naturopathic Lattes $7.00
Organic Naturopathic Teas $6.00
Refreshers and Elixirs $4.50 – $6.50
Smoothie Blends $8.50 -$11.00