Life is tough for me at present. Last week we went to the Gold Coast to watch the Cats take on the Suns at Metricon stadium.
Given our current weather, it just seemed wrong not to have a few extra days in the sun. I mean, someone has to make these sacrifices! The football was most enjoyable and the result what we wanted.
On the Sunday, we headed south to Cabarita Beach. It is only a 20-minute drive from the Gold Coast, but worlds away in terms of ambience and style. We stayed at Halcyon House for a couple of blissful days. Located just north of Byron Bay, the hotel is a small oasis in this sleepy, surfing hamlet.
The story of the hotel began in 2011 with the purchase of the ‘Hideaway’ hotel by Brisbane-based sisters Siobhan and Elisha Bickle and their husbands Adam Flaskas and Dave Wadley. The two couples purchased the property with the intention of creating a refuge to house their families on holidays. Instead they have rebirthed an old Flag Inn from an ugly duckling into a gracious swan for all to enjoy.
And what a treasure it is. The pool area looks like something out of a Gina Lollobrigida film set on the Italian Amalfi coast in the 1960s. Blue and white striped cushions surround a pool of pristine blue tiles and a bar to the side just waiting for your order of Campari and soda (or anything else which may take your fancy).
If my wife were writing this article she would extol the virtues of the interior design by describing all 21 individually designed rooms. They are stunning, but I was more interested in the food being created by chef Ben Devlin (ex Noma fame) and his dedicated team.
Outside of our own Zeally Bay sourdough, I haven’t tasted better bread. All baked on site, it epitomised the lengths to which this brigade of chefs is willing to go. It was perfect.
The restaurant at this boutique hotel is called Paper Daisy and is named after the wildflowers that bloom on the nearby headland. The emphasis is on Australian coastal cooking with local organic produce grown in the onsite kitchen garden or sourced from nearby farms. The breakfast menu is sublime and was recently voted Gourmet Traveller Hotel guide’s best breakfast for 2018. I particularly enjoyed the fresh beans and peas with cauliflower, almond, kale and fetta and my wife adored the kefir pancakes with macadamia cream, passionfruit and berries. Breakfast was just an introduction to a couple of days spent walking, reading, eating and, you will not believe this, lying by the pool! As mentioned, it’s a tough life, but someone has to do it.
Try the following one dish recipe from David Herbert. It’s more suited to our current climate. To give the lamb cutlets a nice colour, sear both sides in a hot frying pan first.