While the past couple of years have seen a flurry of restaurateurs set their sights on Northern New South Wales, Byron wasn’t a recent decision for Maurice Terzini. For more than 20 years the acclaimed restaurateur has had his heart set on opening a venue in the coastal town, so when an opportunity presented itself in one of his most-loved spots, Belongil Beach, he jumped at it. Together with his long-time business partner Deke Miskin and general manager and business partner Dave Owen (CicciaBella and formerly Icebergs Dining Room and Bar), Maurice set about planning the opening of Byron’s new neighbourhood hang, Belongil Beach Italian Food.
Much like the team’s Sydney venues, Belongil Beach Italian Food has a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. The fit-out, designed by George Livissianis (who also designed Greca and Yoko in Brisbane), exudes a laid-back contemporary vibe, inspired by the restaurant’s coastal surrounds. The venue similarities don’t end there – similarly to CicciaBella and Icebergs, Belongil Beach Italian Food’s ethos centres around the idea of celebrating community, both with guests (the restaurant is very family friendly) and suppliers. The menu, curated by head chef Danny Rossi in partnership with Icebergs’ Alex Prichard, showcases the abundance of exceptional produce in the Northern Rivers region. Particular focus has been placed by family-owned-and-operated businesses, with the team working closely with producers such as Boon Luck Farm Organics, Picone Exotics and Byron Bay Mozzarella to craft the tantalising array of eats.
In case the restaurant’s name hadn’t clued you in – you’re going to be eating Italian food. The menu lends itself to both long grazing lunches and fun family dinners, spanning across options of spuntini, antipasti, vegetables and salads, pasta, seafood, grilled mains and desserts. You can start your Belongil Beach Italian Food journey slowly, with the likes of The Bread Social sourdough, Byron Bay ricotta with chilli and honey, Salumi Australia mortadella, fried Moreton Bay bug potato buns with voudavan mayo, and grilled local prawns with fermented chilli and pepper berry. For the main event, twirl your fork through spaghetti chitarra with pipis and bottarga, treat yourself to rock-lobster orecchiette with tomato and lemon-myrtle butter, or tuck in to a hearty 500-g dry-aged rib eye on the bone with koji and condiments. The menu is complemented by a lovingly curated coastal-inspired wine list, highlighting local, small-batch or family-run wineries from both Australia and the Mediterranean, many of which practise sustainable, ethical and minimal-intervention producing.
Belongil Beach Italian Food is open now – head to the Stumble Guide for opening hours and reservation details. The team is also working on a number of fun, community-led events at the restaurant, which will also host producer markets selling local fresh bread, plants, flowers and herbs on weekends. Keep an eye on socials for details!
Images: Nikki To