Native fare at Harvest Newrybar.
This iconic eatery near Byron Bay is hosting a series of all-star dinners featuring chefs lured by the native ingredients and modern approach
IF THE calibre of chefs set to collaborate with the team at Harvest Newrybar from now until August is any indication of its merits, diners should take note.
The tranquil eatery just outside Byron Bay recently released the line-up for its new series of monthly Wild Harvest chef dinners and its star-studded participants include Darren Robertson and Mark Labrooy of Three Blue Ducks, Phil Marchant and Cormac Bradfield from Brisbane’s Gauge, plus Mike Mcenearney from No.1 Bent St in Sydney.
Perhaps the restaurant’s biggest drawcard for these chefs is its unique, local approach to food, including the use of native ingredients all sourced by its dedicated forager Peter Hardwick. Think coastal tea tree, dorrigo pepper, brush cherry, kelp and pandanas.
Harvest is unafraid to push the boundaries of modern fare, and for diners that means plates that entice, excite and challenge.
The almost-spongy texture of a pumpkin and wattleseed custard, paired with an intensely pickled radicchio leaf, is a little unusual at first, but the flavours and contrast of sweet custard and tart leaf play off each other like a Wimbledon-winning doubles pairing.
Prawns from nearby Ballina arrive as whole, charry delights accompanied by wilted, blackened kelp similar in texture and flavour to oyster mushrooms, giving a powerful umami kick. Meanwhile, kangaroo is expertly cooked, its mild gaminess balanced by a syrupy brush cherry jus and petals of pickled onion.
Service is knowledgeable and warm, though meals can be a little slow to leave the kitchen. However, with the fireplace roaring inside and bar heaters warming up the cosy timber cottage’s closed-in deck, there are certainly worse places to wait.
Harvest already has the chefs’ tick of approval and is sure to get yours too.
HARVEST NEWRYBAR: REVIEWED BY ANOOSKA TUCKER- EVANS