Shelter at Lennox Head
When you fly into the regional airport of Ballina for a holiday in Byron Bay, don't discount a stop in Lennox Head on your way in. In this small coastal town, you'll find Shelter, overlooking the beach. In a strip of residential homes, Shelter stands like a large and elegant beach house with its doors thrown wide in welcome.
Shelter represents one of the many restaurants and cafes springing up in remote and tucked away corners of the country, determined that attention to detail, excellent food and top service alone will attract a regular clientele. And how right they are: showing up without a booking to any of these tucked away places is dicey. Yet, if you can be bothered to make the effort to book ahead of time, you'll be rewarded with ambience, fabulous local produce brought to life by talented chefs who've made the move to these beautiful locations for a better quality of life.
On our return visit to Shelter, everything we thought had been exciting, surprising and delightful at our first quick lunch, was confirmed over a long and leisurely dinner.
For lunch, we had perched at a bar looking out to the blue skies and white capped ocean.
At dinner weeks later, we were seated in the courtyard: with martinis and margaritas, mild sea breezes keeping us relaxed, we watched the sky change and the sun go down over various delicious plates.
The service was warm and informal but professional, attentive and discreet.
The Shelter ethos is serving up food with the local community taking centre stage, serving food that is ethically and locally sourced.
Every dish was a delight: surprising tastes and combinations, but never too clever or overwrought.
Hervey Bay scallops with a sprinkle of XO, preserved lemon and puffed rice is inspired, heirloom tomato slices topped with a tapenade of green olives, pine nuts and basil celebrates those wonderful mediterranean flavours with a unique twist, the raw fish with shisho, cucumber and wakame dances on the tongue with flavour, and a pile of school prawns flash fried are crisp and sweet.
Don't miss the incredible coconut semifreddo dessert, with mango, passionfruit and a pile of macadamia crumbles. It is a sublime, fitting end to the meal.
41 Pacific Parade
Ph: 02 66877757