An Australian couple came by the restaurant last week – they’d flown over especially, they said.
Years ago I lived for a brief spell in Byron Bay – the easternmost point of Australia. I often think of Byron as the place that I grew up, even though I was 30 when I made it my home. Far from home, I was able to carve out my own identity with a freedom that is hard to find when friends and family are close at hand.
One day, lazing on a deckchair at my friend’s place a few steps back from the deserted beach, I remember asking, “but who am I? A dictionary editor from London or layabout surfer of Byron Bay?” “Why can’t you be both?” he replied.
I don’t think I could have taken a risk on Yeshi and everything that has followed without those years exploring different versions of me in Byron. I met people from all over the world there, living a completely different way of life.
Growing up in Byron was also an education in food. As a Londoner who’d never grown a vegetable in my life, this was the first time that I came to understand and appreciate the seasonality of crops, and to enjoy fruit and veg fresh from the soil. Avocados, pineapples, mangoes – they’d never tasted like this before. My housemates always took time and pride over our shared meals, decorating their dishes with edible frangipanis plucked from the garden. The local muesli contained macadamias – a sweet, buttery nut grown in the hills above the bay.
When our kids were 2 and 4, Yeshi and I visited family in Tibet for the first time since he’d left in 1999 (this is another story). Figuring that we were half way to Australia, I snuck us in a couple of a weeks in Byron Bay at the end of the trip. I called it time to decompress. Really I just had a longing to bring our young family to this part of the world that has remained so alive for me. I don’t know if Yeshi got it or not, but he definitely enjoyed BBQs on the beach and this encounter with kangaroos.
Turns out the Australian couple visiting our restaurant hadn’t flown over to see us, but they were from Byron Bay. They were in the UK to visit family and also to attend the World Nut conference in London – they were macadamia farmers from Lindendale in the Byron hinterlands.
They popped in again later with a kilo of nuts from their farm (the creamiest macadamias I’ve had since breakfasts in Byron way back when). Everybody knows that hospitality is not an easy life – we do it for these moments, when everything just comes together. Thank you to our wonderful customers for the amazing highs. In this case we are literally dining out on your kindness.
Cherished people – the festival season is upon us. We are open as usual this week, but will be CLOSED AFTER THIS WEEKEND until we return from Glastonbury at the end of the month. Come and see us at KITE Festival up the road 9-11th June (or indeed Glasto), or get yourselves over to the restaurant as soon as you can! This week’s menu is out now. We’re open all the usual hours, as follows:
Wednesday: 5-9.30pm (dinner only)
Thursday – Saturday: 12-3 (lunch) / 5-9.30pm (dinner)
Of course, while the doors are shut you will still want your chicken curry. Our freezers are fully loaded so come and stock up on momos, dal and all your favourite dishes this week. Don’t forget to take home a jar of chilli or pickles as well, and if you’re keen to have a go at everything yourselves while we’re away then pop a cookbook in the TT tote bag bag while you’re at it.
Looking forward to seeing you,
Julie and Yeshi
Opening hours this week:
Thurs – Sat: 12-3pm 🥢 5-9.30pm
☏ 01865 499318