It's now well known that heading to Byron for a summer getaway, is about much more than sun and surf. Along with refreshing, sparkling water, dolphins and sun-kissed days there's a thriving local food scene which is drawing some of Australia's most experienced chefs. And needless to say, you're welcome to turn up at their door straight from the beach.
Located in Byron’s Arts and Industrial Estate, 100 Mile Table is the best kind of slashie: this is a takeaway kitchen/pop-up dining space/catering hub that’s all about great food, cooked simply. Relationships with local producers are part of the woodwork at 100 Mile Table – literally (a Brisbane-based carpenter built the huge communal tables that are the focal point of the space).
Founders and owners Sarah Swan and Jeremy Burn are passionate about purity in their produce and have worked hard to develop long-term supply relationships with local producers including One Organics, Possum Creek, the Market Gardens, Lighthouse Organics, Byron Bay Pork, Farm Gate Providor and the incredible farmers’ markets around the Northern Rivers region.
“Byron Bay punches way above its weight when it comes to food and local produce,” says Swan. “100 Mile Table works really well because of our access to weekly local farmers’ markets in Brighton, Mullumbimby, Bangalow and Newrybar.” Sarah visits the Byron Bay Farmers’ Markets every Thursday and proudly points out the Spring Greens on the ever-changing breakfast menu (featuring three types of kale this week).
The menu is deceptively simple: this is officially a takeaway joint, but not as you know it. To begin with, the menu is guided by what’s seasonal and seductive at the markets, and what type of week the “ladies” at Possum Creek are having (translation: are the chooks laying?). But like any other good small business, the menu moves with customer demand. And because of its loyal local following, the Bacon Butty will remain a firm fixture; “There’d be absolute outrage if we took that off,” says Swan, “we’re using Cromwell Farms bacon, smoked at Clunes Butcher in Bangalow, and eggs from Hayters Hill with our own homemade tomato jam placed carefully on a brioche bun. We’re training our customers to expect more from their takeaway.”
This uncompromising attention to detail, the understanding of produce and its origins and commitment to the “locavore” philosophy stems from the shared passion, craft and experience that Swan and Burn bring to their table. Swan spent 14 years with the Rockpool group and has been a chef for 25 years in Sydney. Jeremy has worked extensively with New Zealand vineyards, wine brands and major Auckland-based restaurant group, the Hipgroup.
The pair has become increasingly well known in the Northern Rivers region, hosting 100 Mile Table Feasts and pop-up dinners and catering weddings, birthdays, wine clubs and the Bangalow Rugby Club. “Shopping local, thinking global”, the flavours at 100 Mile Table draws inspiration from near and far. Sarah’s mother lives in Vietnam, so the menu has a strong Asian influence though the pop-ups can range from a big Italian feast to an Asian banquet to a Spanish paella party.
100 Mile Table’s big industrial space lends itself well to transforming from takeaway kitchen by day into intimate venue by night. The custom-built commercial kitchen and the award-winning spatial design make the space dynamic, yet welcoming. Last week, Bangalow-based architectural firm Dominic Finlay-Jones Architects (DFJArch), which designed the 100 Mile space, won Small Projects and Termimesh Timber Award at the NSW Country Division Awards of the Australian Institute of Architects.
Any visitor to 100 Mile Table will appreciate the expansive, long, wooden, communal tables, the endless Plumber’s Pot of Marvell Street Coffee and a proper avo on toast. Not to mention the mix of people popping their heads in: designers, tradies, backpackers seeking out LSD (Latte Soy Dandelion) and locals looking for simple, natural – but exceptionally good – food.
“We’ve just been so lucky with the support from the Byron community, word of mouth and other creative forces in the industrial estate,” says Burn. “We’re ramping up the catering, looking at releasing a product line of homemade goods and from January 10 we’ll be open on Saturday mornings. We take a lot of inspiration from the people around us – like Spell and the Gypsy, Jai Vasicek from Ahoy Trader, Stone and Wood Brewery – because we like the idea of discreet industrial with a killer creative force behind it.”
We’ll be getting in early for a seat at the 100 Mile Table this summer, and looking forward to that Saturday trading. Fingers crossed the chooks are laying.
100 Mile Table
8 Banksia Drive, Byron Bay Arts and Industrial Park
(02) 6680 9814
Mon to Fri 7am–2pm