Let me preface this review with an apology about the photos. They do not do the beautiful plating of the kitchen any justice and I am deeply saddened by that! We dined by candlelight (which was lovely), but not so great for my unsteady hand and bad eyes when checking the camera screen – they looked in focus! (Will you allow me to blame pregnancy? I’m going with that). Moving right along…
Every week on Thursday mornings in Byron Bay there is a beautiful farmers market. I go there most weeks to get all my fresh produce needs; fruit, veggies, meat/small goods and occasionally nuts (local macadamias and pecans, of course!), condiments and seafood.
I just LOVE chatting to the stall holders, who are the farmers or producers of the product they are selling. It’s amazing.
Both locals and tourists shop at the market and it’s always enjoyable to see the tourists faces beaming at what a fantastic market it is, as well as meeting locals who have been shopping there since its inception 10 years ago.
Well known local chef, Gavin Hughes, is the market’s official ambassador and he has taken that loyalty to the next level by creating a special new Market to Table Dinner at his restaurant at The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa.
Each Thursday he heads down to the market to shop for produce and then takes it back to his kitchen and designs a menu based on the mornings bounty to serve that evening. It’s any enthusiastic home cooks dream scenario, I’m sure you’ll agree!
Hubby, Poppy and I got down there a few weeks ago to try it out, and let me tell you, we were thoroughly impressed.
As soon as we sat down the kitchen sent out a delicious little amuse bouche of herbed goats cheese and beetroot relish on a cracker. Poppy was busy eating some peas I’d bought along for her dinner, so I gobbled hers up for her.
Next we ordered some bread and olives to nibble on while we were checking out the menu. In hindsight, we didn’t need these, as the portions were so generous that they filled us up too much. We just couldn’t resist the fresh warm bread, gorgeous olive oil and dukkah spice mix – which had a good crunch of hazelnuts. The olives aren’t pictured but were marinated and served warm – totally moreish.
We ordered the Market To Table Dinner which is 2 courses (entree and main) for $49, but hubby ate the entree and I ate the main, then we ordered from the regular menu to show you what other things they have on offer – you know, for a good balanced review for you! (Not because we greedily wanted to devour as much of the menu as possible, no, that’s not it, promise!).
The entree was Farm Gate grass fed beef, organic garlic puree, padron peppers, Nimbin sweet goat’s cheese and Cooper’s Shoot confit tomatoes.
A really hearty entree where all the elements worked so perfectly together. I’m a big fan of those Cooper’s Shoot tomatoes (remember the gazpacho I made with them?).
The main course that accompanied the above entree was Byron Bay fresh handmade tagliatelle pasta, Donna Harper mushroom ragout, creme fraiche and cavalo nero.
I was lucky enough to score this dish and it was absolutely outstanding. I buy mushrooms from Donna almost every week and they are always perfectly fresh and earthy, and the mixed bag used in this pasta really had a brilliant umami depth of flavour. The slightly crunchy pickled onions were a nice contrast to the meaty mushies, rich broth-like sauce and fresh pasta.
My entree from the main al a carte menu was Prawns from Yamba, chorizo, grilled padron peppers and mojo picon ($25).
If you have not been to the beachside town of Yamba, I urge you to. It is a beautiful spot to swim, picnic and relax. The prawns from there are delicious too, and when combined with a slightly spicy chorizo and the other spanish elements of this dish I was transported straight back to the European Summer of 2009 I spent in Barcelona.
Hubby was beyond happy with his main course of Casino beef short ribs, slow braised with garlic mashed potatoes, pearl onions, green beans and gremolata ($37). He kindly offered me a taste, but the look on his face was pure bliss so I didn’t want to take even a mouthful away from him!
I did notice the beef just slid right off the bone and the mash looked smooth as silk. Definitely a chilly Autumn evening meal to savour.
Sadly we couldn’t fit in dessert (damn you delicious bread!) so I guess I’ll have to go back to try that another week. I just love the concept of the Market to Table Dinner and I’m sure many others will too. If you are in town then do make sure to make a booking to check it out, your taste buds will love you for it!
Have you been to a farmers market dinner before? Where?
Market to Table 2 course dinner $49.
Every Thursday at The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa. Bookings 6639 2111.
Also, read my previous review of lunch at The Byron at Byron Restaurant if you’ve got a minute.
Disclosure: Fig & Cherry and family dined as guests of The Byron at Byron.