Byron Bay’s dining scene continues to expand at pace, with the arrival of Italian restaurant Pixie Food & Wine at the highly anticipated new Jonson Lane precinct this November.
The “laneway-style” Jonson Lane development, located at the western end of Jonson Street, will also welcome a bigger and better version of Byron’s popular Asian diner Light Years, natural-wine bar Bar Heather, luxury retailers Venroy, Deiji Studios, Saturdays NYC and Nagnata, and residential apartments.
Pixie Food & Wine restaurateurs James Sutherland and Kim Stephen, who are also behind Light Years, say the Italian restaurant will combine Byron’s casual, beachy vibe with upmarket city dining. They’ve recruited Sicilian chef Matteo Tine from Melbourne’s high-end Florentino to run the show, and renowned designer David Flack from Flack Studio – whose other recent projects include Sydney’s Ace Hotel – for the interiors.
The menu will include dishes such as sfinci (Sicilian fried doughnuts) filled with a warm cacio e pepe sauce and finished with a thin slice of house-made air-dried bresaola; Mooloolaba house-smoked Albacore tonno pastrami with pickled and fresh heirloom radish giardiniera; and spaghetti alla chitarra, made with a sourdough pasta, vongole and bottarga sauce, fermented chilli oil, and lemon and fennel pangrattato.
“We have this amazing team in the kitchen who have been working really hard on combining a modern Italian vintage approach to plating with local seasonal produce, and making pasta and preserves from scratch,” Sutherland says.
Sutherland and Stephen have been in planning mode for the past two years, after the original Light Years outgrew its current compact space at the other end of town. “We think the level of restaurants we’re building is now representative of the Byron demographic,” Sutherland tells Broadsheet. “Property prices in Byron are ridiculous. We really loved this building and all the greenery.”
Light Years will go from 45 to 120 seats, the new space drawing inspiration from the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Morocco, with terracotta tiles throughout. The original Light Years, which opened in 2017 and has been followed by outlets in Newcastle, Burleigh Heads and Noosa, will close in mid-October, to be replaced with a new Middle Eastern restaurant called Smoking Camel in early 2023.
In September, the team also opened Moonlight, an intimate Japanese hibachi grill and wine bar next door to Light Years in Byron Lane. “Originally we wanted to join it all up, but we couldn’t get it through council,” Sutherland says.
While more retailers will be announced for the precinct over the next few months, we know there are also good things to expect from Bar Heather. It’s the second venue for James Audas and Tom Sheer, who run nearby Luna Wine Store. It’ll have a strong focus on natural wines alongside snacks by chef Ollie Wong-Hee, who has worked at top Sydney restaurants including Ester and Sixpenny.
Pixie Food & Wine and Light Years are slated to open in November at Jonson Lane, 139 Jonson Street, Byron Bay. Bar Heather is set to open October 19.