Byron Bay on a Saturday evening is a suntanned tangle of holidaymakers, Birkenstok-clad backpackers and alternative lifestylers who once checked in and long ago checked out. It makes for absorbing viewing when you’re perched on the sprawling balcony of Loft Byron Bay, former Melburnian Matt Hunt’s sparkling Hamptons-style bar-restaurant right across the road from the iconic Beach Hotel.
Hunt spent months living among the locals and gathering intel before transforming this one-time Hogs Breath Café into a white-washed beach house filled with sparkling, knowledgeable staff, who are quick with the recommendations if you’re torn between the plump, velvety Sydney rock oysters and a spectacular tuna ceviche with green apple and jalapeño salsa verde (our tip: share both).
Seafood stars here but if your heart says lamb shoulder, follow it with a friend and share the joy. On the lighter side, cured meats and cheeses are hereabouts to team with a smartly curated list of local and European wines. Whatever the state of your appetite, leave room for the Byron Bay Cookies & Cream Ice Cream.
The Loft is as fresh as the northerly whipping up the whitecaps in the distance and a stylish addition to Byron’s growing array of clever and contemporary dining destinations.
Atmosphere: Light, bright, beachside chic
Best for: Cocktails at sunset
Cuisine: European inspired Modern Australian
Standout dish: Tuna ceviche with green apple and jalapeño salsa verde
Open: Seven days for lunch and dinner
Address: 4 Jonson Street, Byron Bay
Phone number: (02) 6680 9183