Farm to Table – Harvest Cafe, Newrybar
Restaurant: Harvest Cafe
18 Old Pacific Hwy, Newrybar, NSW
Owners: Kassia & Tristan Grier and Brooke Hudson
Awards: 1 hat (Regional) – 2015
My travels took me to northern New South Wales (think Lismore, Byron, Cabarita) where I had the chance to sample the delights of Harvest Cafe for the second time. The ‘cafe’ is not only a cafe, but a deli and bakery and resides just off the main highway about 15-20 mins from Byron Bay in the tiny little town called Newrybar.
If you are not that familiar with this part of Australia, it is just off the eastern coast and the climate gets more tropical as you progress north into Queensland. The houses are mainly large, stilt supported homes built in wood or one level homes built in brick. The reason I mention that is that the ‘Cafe’ it in a beautiful wooden ‘Queenslander’-style house with a huge outside undercover dining deck and large open plan kitchen/service and lounge area. They are known for hosting weddings and special functions as well such is the beauty of the location.
The Cafe-Bakery-Deli-Farm is based on a philosophy of promoting fresh local produce in a relaxed but attentive environment. The first time I ate at Harvest, I had one of the best dishes (Salt baked Celeriac), it is so good, that I benchmark other vegetarian dishes against it and it still sits at the top alongside the ‘Brussels Sprouts’ at Three Blue Ducks and the sensational vegetarian menu at Sydney’s Yellow. The Byron Hinterland region itself is a stunning ecosystem that produces much sought after produce from the land and sea. In this context, the ‘farm to table’ idealism is executed well without the pomp and ceremony some restaurants prefer to engage in.Other stand out dishes on my visits were the ‘Charred leek/prawns/buttermilk/rye crumb’ and ”Grilled octopus/sobressada/lemon/bottarga’.
I’ve written about Harvest a few times as it is a great example of dedication to growing, sourcing and presenting local food. They even invest in their own full time forager and food researcher, two permaculturalists and a 107 year old wood fired oven to ensure the long term vision is realised.
Do yourself a favourite and take the time (don’t rush it) and visit the area, do not miss out on a breakfast, lunch or dinner, you will love it. I might even see you there.