A year after Elements of Byron rolled out schmick new villas, a pool complete with swim-up bar and a beach club, come some red-hot new food offerings. Overseen by executive chef Simon Jones – who came to Byron from the UK and after stints at The Peninsula in Beverly Hills and Marco Pierre White’s L'Escargot in London – the five new eateries cover a range of cuisines, including modern Australian, Mexican and Japanese.
The resort used to house a more formal diner, but Jones says the refresh is more aligned with what guests and locals are looking for when they visit a spot like Elements.
“I took over two years ago,” he told Broadsheet. “I emulated what I did over in the UK, pumping out 300 covers a night in this European-style brasserie. Now we’re trying to cook food people want to eat; make it much more relaxed.”
That mantra has informed the new diners. The main restaurant is Azure Bar and Grill, which has an extensive menu that includes everything from pizza to seafood to meat cooked over charcoal.
Breeze Poolside Bar and Eats is a cabana where you can pick up pizzas, sandwiches, salads and cocktails without needing to pop clothes on over your bathers. And Botanica Beach Club on the sand is equally casual, serving up drinks made from Cape Byron Distillery’s Brookie’s gin in a restored caravan.
Summer Salt joins other nearby new Mexican joints La Casita and Chupacabra in serving summery snacks, including fish and avocado tacos and chicken burritos with smoked tomato and chipotle sauce. It’s for adult resort guests only, and offers two kinds of Margaritas (traditional mezcal and frozen mango) and other beachy cocktails, such as coconut Espresso Martinis.
But if guests are too relaxed to dine out at all, they can get burgers and booze delivered to their villa via golf buggy.
Jones says the eclectic array of international dishes reflects the backgrounds of his staff members, who come from around the world (and work a four-day work week). He rotates his staff through all of the restaurants, giving each person a chance to pick up skills from a variety of cuisines and environments. The menu for each eatery will change every couple of months to reflect what’s in season and on offer from suppliers. One dish will always be available, though: the snapper Thai red curry, which Jones says accounts for 10 per cent of his business.
The majority of what he serves is sourced locally. The chicken is from Brooklet Springs Farm, and other meats come from a nearby butcher. He is also working with an Indigenous produce supplier to get ingredients he’s never cooked with, including beach succulents.
“I have come from the UK and was presented with clams like I’ve never seen before,” said Jones. “They were so fresh; their tongues were coming out. I was really cautious because they don’t come cheap, but I went down to Sydney and realised people will happily pay $5 for them.”
Elements of Byron, which opened in 2016 on the outskirts of Byron Bay, is owned by mining magnate Brian Flannery (who also owns a solar-powered train that stops near the resort). It has 193 villas and – along with its revamped restaurants and bar – offers guests a range of activities, including yoga and meditation classes, horse riding on the beach, and an on-site spa.