Oma by Three Blue Ducks
Oma is a colourful, plant-filled wine bar in the heart of Byron Bay. It takes the place of the group’s Locura nightclub, which opened in late 2018. Oma is the Ducks’ second Byron operation, joining the popular Three Blue Ducks at The Farm, 10 minutes out of town.
It’s named both for the cyclone that generated a perfect 11-day swell on Byron’s beaches in 2019, and for the Dutch colloquialism for “grandmother” (a nod to co-owner Jeff Bennett’s Dutch heritage). Co-owner, chef and Byron local Darren Robertson says he believes it offers a more dynamic, playful twist on the group’s winning formula.
A deli counter will stock locally made charcuterie, cut to order on a vintage meat slicer. On any given night it might dispense venison prosciutto, free-range guanciale (cured pork cheek) and lonzino (air-cured pork loin) cured only minutes away. There’s also a slew of raw seafood, cheeses and pickles showcasing the talents of local growers, catchers and makers.
The kitchen is led by Mark Hannell, who spent a few years as sous chef at Byron’s Three Blue Ducks outpost, and before that worked at Ottolenghi’s London diner Nopi and Bar Liberty in Melbourne. He’s serving an array of Ducks-esque dishes that range from the snacky – melon dusted with a Davidson plum salt – to the more substantial.
One highlight is the sourdough crumpet with XO pipis and Oomite burnt butter. The dish proudly showcases the locally made umami-rich spread co-created by his partner Magdalena Roze. Other options include a Provenir sirloin, and roasted cauliflower with tahini and cumquats.
Emblematic of Byron’s evolving culinary cred is Oma’s all-natural wine list. Group beverage manager Mem Hemmings is committed not only to pouring as many rosés and orange wines as reds and whites, but also to highlighting female winemakers and producers with women at the helm. The region’s breweries are well represented, with Black Hops, Stone & Wood, Wandana and Seven Mile Brewing all making an appearance. Classic cocktails are reinterpreted using Australian spirits.
Locura nightclub’s stripped-back Latin-American vibes have been exorcised from the 80-seat room and replaced with hanging baskets, fiddle-leaf figs and other greenery befitting its beach-adjacent position. With a wall-sized mural by local artist Mlak (Karlee Mackie), an eclectic jazz soundtrack and inviting open-air verandah.