Michael Murray

Michael Murray

Michael Murray

Byron Good Food Guide

  • Published in Blog

Byron Good Food Guide

There is a new development on the corner of Fletcher and Lawson where the old council chamber once was. It’s the expansion of the old Byron Bay Beach Hostel and includes four or five new restaurants. BPS thought this would be a good time to do a list and review of some of the more interesting and good value restaurants around town.

These first three are in the new complex on the corner of Fletcher and Lawson – what many of us refer to as “The Second Roundabout”:

1. SAFYA, 1/8 Fletcher Street Byron Bay

An Egyptian Restaurant getting a bit of buzz and well worth a visit. Décor, service and interior fit-out are all well done and interesting. Safya means “pure” so all food is free of preservatives and additives. It has some very tasty Middle Eastern drinks and teas. If you doing breakfast try the Shakshuka with sardines, but all the wraps are terrific.

2. MELAKA, 11 Fletcher Street, Byron Bay

The BPS taste buds are a huge fan of Malaysian street food so happy to hear we have one in town now. It’s very authentic with the whole extended Malaysian family in the kitchen. Good, but I still prefer the real thing in the backstreets of Kuala Lumpur – may be the rancid oil they use over there that gives it the extra flavour. The Beef Rendang is good but a better one can be had at the Indo stall at the Mullum markets.

3. FINN PØKE and SLO-MO-JOES

(Two different restaurants same complex corner of Fletcher and Lawson)

A pøke bowl is a Hawaiian dish of salad and fish. This place is going to go gangbusters in summer, as this is a staple diet for many Byronians.

Slo-Mo-Joes is around the corner in Bay Lane. It has a selection of soups and slow-cooked meals. Due to a labeling mix-up I thought I was getting a slow-cooked meat dish but was given a large baguette with salad. The staff graciously fixed the problem with no fuss and what I finally got was delicious.

4. TRATORIA BASILOCO, 30 Lawson Street, Byron Bay

This is a Sardinian Restaurant and has survived in a venue that has been a graveyard for restaurants. Singer Pete Murray’s FRANKY’S was there previously, under the ugly brick motel past the second roundabout. This iteration has been open for a couple of years and the owners have hit on a good combination of quality dishes for a reasonable price. Good for families as the kids can tuck into the excellent wood fired pizzas.

5. JONSONS, 111 Jonson Street, Byron Bay

For many years the “Byronian Café” opposite the post office was an institution. When the building was sold the latest owner, Yatzik, moved it down the road to #111 Jonson. It has recently had a makeover and new menu and is worth another visit.

6. 100 MILE TABLE, 4/8 Banksia Drive, Byron Industrial Estate

This is a catering outfit that have a restaurant on the side in their funky industrial shed-like building opposite a car mechanic. Yes, it’s unpretentious and the menu is simple and served in disposable bowls and plates. But the food is delicious and the cutback, industrial décor works.

7. BYRON BANH MI, 130 Jonson Street, Byron

Down Jonson Street just before the RSL, where the very popular Citrus Deli was for many years, is a new entrant. A Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich, which can be addictive. This place is by Moui, formerly of Moui’s Feast, which is opposite the Backpackers. Try the Crispy Pork Roast with a vermicelli salad. If thats not enough pork, get some of the delicious preservative free bacon from Holy Smoked butcher in the same complex.

8. DOMA, 3-6 Albert St. Federal

Our region is so trendy, every small village has to have its own Japanese eatery. Doma does a roaring trade on weekend lunches and the traffic is intense its sooooo hard to park the black Land Rover. Federal is growing a real foodie culture with its own artisan coffee roaster down the road and a vegetarian joint in a tepee.

9. ROADHOUSE CAFÉ, Cemetery and Bangalow Road, Byron Bay

Want more of the hipster scene? The Roadhouse is hipster central. Personally I think if you don’t know how to degrease a truck or fell a tree you shouldn’t be allowed to grow a full bushy beard. Lots of full beards are tucking into the smashed avo on organic wholemeal and Spanish aioli frittatas, as the food is pretty good.

10. MAIN STREET BURGER BAR, 18 Jonson Street, Byron Bay

Serial successful restaurant owner, Laurie Rose, has another hit here. (He also operates the ITALIAN AT THE PACIFIC at the Beach Hotel, which is more upmarket and is having a long overdue menu change). The filling choices are much more interesting and varied here than your trad burger bar. The “ban the bun” option is great for the gluten wary and the banana caramel smoothie is a knockout.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

Brunswick Heads:

FLEET, I have not been here yet but there is a big following for this small place. Only seats 22 and is often booked out. Pricey!

FAT BELLY KAF, This restaurant has changed hands and is for sale but the food quality remains of a high standard. Greek flavours and they do incredible things with haloumi. Slow roast lamb is worth going back for.

FOOTBRIDGE CAFE is good for Sunday brunch or any weekday to sit in the sun. Creative menu and friendly relaxed service.

Bangalow:

TOWN do cafe service at ground level and the upstairs restaurant, UPTOWN, does degustation. The downstairs café does amazing pastries.

CHOIX CHOIX up the road though does an incredible Blueberry Tart, which is one of the few things I miss since giving up sugar.

Mullumbimby:

SPICE IT UP THAI is consistent, reasonably priced and unpretentious and I have never tired of it over the years.

IZAKAYA YU is Mullum’s obligatory Japanese restaurant. The name is so ornery most people just say the “Mullum Jap”. Very popular and often booked out and has two sittings per nght so cannot book between 6 and 7.

Byron Bay:

O’SUSHI in the Woolworth plaza is a regular haunt of mine and needs a mention as Carney and her family run a great establishment – as proven by the multiple awards they have won over the years.

LUSCIOUS in the Byron Industrial Estate was sold by long-term local caterer, Liz Jackson and is now run by an Israeli doing very good quality Middle Eastern fare for lunch.

 

This list was put together with the assistance of local foodie and caterer Lyndey Lee: www.trickytastytreats.com

Please comment on this post as it could be a regular column and I would appreciate feedback for the next update.

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Action on Affordable Housing

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Mayor Simon Richardson has recognised that the affordable housing problem is an ongoing crisis in this shire. It is a nutty problem that is not easily remedied. The mayor has called for any interested parties to come forward and offer some solutions.

Over the years Byron Shire Council has sold off many of its assets to fund a budget shortfall. It is now generally acknowledged that this may have not been the wisest approach - considering the stellar performance of property prices over the recent years. In hindsight, we may have been better served retaining these assets and budgeting in other areas.

As well as calling on input from the wider community on affordable housing, council is developing a Private Public Partnership policy. Many capable and experienced people already reside in our region and council is hoping to engage with outside individuals and groups to assist in solving this problem. Other shire councils have had a PPP’s so the BSC is now inititating its own policy guidelines.

Council still has a number of land parcels still in its possession. Also, some privately owned land parcels may have suitable zonings and DCP for some of these models which may be already allowed. Council now wishes to work with people submitting ideas and partnership models as well as landholders and professionals who would like to contribute to this issue. Council is also asking for input into its Draft Rural Settlement Strategy.

Social Habitat Housing (SHH) is a registered Not For Profit company that will be presenting a proposal. I, Michael Murray, am a director, as well as Malcolm Price, a local social planner and designer, and Michael Dowling, who has extensive experience in real estate finance and property management.

SHH would like to work with council in developing a "Tiny House Eco-village" on suitable valuable land. The idea is a hybrid using the existing “Manufactured Home, Caravan Park, Retirement Village” model. This model already has been in existence for many decades and we are suggesting it be available for urban leasehold. Using this model, Byron Council will be able to derive a reasonable income while retaining ownership of the original asset.

This is not a social housing model. Potential residents will still need to have sufficient funds to build a small home and pay a rental land lease. But the economics will be within the established affordable housing definition: 30-35% of a basic wage or pension.

More information is available on the website: https://shh.socialhabitat.com.au. Anyone interested in being involved or hearing more about this project, please go to the website and register your name and contact info. You will then be informed of a public meeting time to be held shortly where more information will be made available.

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Hot Property - July

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Roundhouse site for sale 

The Roundhouse site in Ocean Shores is certainly the saga that keeps on giving. Council copped a serious degree of flack for selling off this site that was once going to be community land. The sale process seemed rushed and haphazard and many thought they were undersold and should have gone to auction. There may be some evidence in that claim now as Lot 8 has just been relisted and asking $600,000 to $650,000. It was sold by council on the 15th of September 2015 for $450,000. That is an increase of $100k PA for the lucky buyers who were queued up outside the Brunswick Heads Professionals REA at the time they were listed. 

 

36 Carlyle St Byron Bay

This is vacant land on the flat side of what they call the Byron “Golden Grid”. 1012 square metres with an old tear-down cottage. So, basically: vacant land listed for $2.6-2.8M. Late last year I helped clients get into a newly renovated, four-bedroom home in a better position for similar money. That about says it all in what has been happening this last 9 months.

 

Cabarita acreage

Why doesn’t anyone listen to me? A great fixer-upper is going to auction this week at Clothiers Creek, the hinterland of Cabarita. Mid 700s is expected and it has fabulous ocean views. This is the classic worst house in the best street story. 

 

Murwillumbah

Murwillumbah is going from strength to strength and I am currently spending more time there. I was going to feature a two-bedroom house on a big block in a good part of town. But, yes, you guessed it; it sold before I was to send this out. Still a few interesting and decent houses there for under $400,000 – but not for long.

 

Car park space - $400,000

 You really know property is huge when a car space is listed for around what a house would sell for. This double car space in a complex in Bond Street, Sydney has been listed for $400,000 and is said to be “reasonable".

 

Piccolo Bar closing 

Speaking of Sydney, allow me some nostalgia. The Piccolo Bar in Kings Cross is closing and that’s the end of an era. Long-term owner operator, Vittorio Bianchi is turning 82 after coming to work there in 1964. The Piccolo Bar was where I whiled away many midnight hours after working in one of my previous careers as a stage manager and theatre producer. The Piccolo was once the favoured late night haunt of many in the film and TV industry, politicians and other low life. Vittorio blames the lockout laws and the ban on smoking inside, and outside cafés, for the likely end of the Cross's oldest coffee bar. "The politicians have done a good job of killing the place,” he said.

 

Iconic Aussie Castle For Sale 

The house featured in the hit Australian film “The Castle” can be yours for as little as a few thousand dollars. Pictured above, the classic suburban weatherboard at 3 Dagonet Street Strathmore, where the Kerrigan (“Tell em they’re dreaming!”) family lived, is going to auction. The sale has been delayed by talk of it being heritage or used as a promotion for a whiskey company. The owner, Vicky Cosentino, wants it gone so she can build a duplex. Yes, you need to spend another $40-50,000 having the house moved away from the block adjoining the Tullamarine airport.  

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Changes to First Home Owner Grants

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In the recent New South Wales budget, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced her housing affordability package. From last Saturday July 1, first home buyers will receive a number of exemptions.

First home buyers wont have to pay stamp duty on homes up to $650,000 from July. Stamp duty will be reduced for properties valued between $650,000 and $800,000 Affordability measures also include a $10,000 grant for first home buyers who are building a house, given the total value of the house and land does not exceed $750,000.

One thing that is new is that a $10,000 grant is also available for existing properties valued up to $600,000. Previously this was just for new dwellings. Some 75,000 homes under construction will be completed in the next financial year in the budget. 

John McGrath said NSW State Budget stamp duty cuts and grants for young buyers will "ultimately raise property prices due to higher competition." But with Sydney and Melbourne at their peak pricing, McGrath suggests softening market conditions might balance out any price effect from greater first home buying activity. 'Especially if there are fewer investors in the market due to tighter lending restrictions," he said.

CoreLogic quoted recent ABS statistics showing that first home buyer activity in NSW hit a record low of 7.5 percent of new owner-occupier mortgages last September and had increased only marginally since then to 8 percent in March this year. "The long term average is 17 percent, so we’re a long way off that.

"The budget confirms that with an increase of 9.6 percent in residential property stamp duty revenue in 2016/17, the rivers of gold flowing from property taxes will fund essential services and programs next year and beyond," she said.  "It also now suggests that significant additional costs could be imposed on the supply of the average home.  "By 2020 that could add a billion dollars to the cost of delivering new homes in NSW." 

"Sydney’s housing supply pipeline ground to a halt less than a decade ago under the burden of excessive infrastructure taxes, so widening the net risks a repeat of recent history."

nb: Some of this article's content has been accessed from a recent article by Tim Lawless of CoreLogic.

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