Monday, June 29, 2015

Weekend at Byron Bay - Belongil Bistro for Lunch

Belongil Bistro

Last weekend, Kat and I spent a glorious 4 days down at Byron Bay for a yoga retreat. I do like to practice yoga casually and for someone who's brain buzzes as relentlessly as mine, yoga is great not only for the body but also the mind. There's about a million things going on in my life right now that I have varying levels of control over and it was starting to get quite overwhelming. Big thanks to Patty at Mana Yoga Retreats for a trip I can't recommend highly enough. I didn't realise until I came home that this weekend was exactly what I needed to get my mind and body back into balance.

Most of our meals at the retreat were catered for and eaten at the accommodation. However because the weather was a bit temperamental, Patty arranged for us to have two meals, a breakfast and a lunch, out at the local cafe.

Belongil Bistro turned out to be amazing on both occasions so I'm excited to put up a review on the food we tasted.

Upon first impressions, the bistro is large with expansive indoor and outdoor seating available. The decor is vintage and quirky with lots of wood, mismatched chairs and artsy props. From their website I also learned that they also have capacity to host parties and even wedding receptions.

The menu is a healthy food lovers dream. The breakfast options are available all day and there are a few extras meal choices for lunch. Everything sounded delicious, nutritious and fresh. Both times we went, I had a hard time narrowing down what I wanted.

Soy latte

We were asked to order beverages first and most of the girls were keen for coffee. I asked for a soy latte, as per my usual, but Belongil Bistro was happy to accommodate more specific requests as well (half strength, double shot, other non-dairy milk options). The coffee was smooth and strong and exactly what we needed on those cold days.

My breakfast pick was the haloumi burger. I thought that food was brought out impressively quickly after we ordered, considering that almost everyone at the table altered their menu item by exchanging certain elements for others and omitting more. Just imagine a table of yoga enthusiasts and the accompanying dietary requirements/preferences.

Haloumi burger - free range fried egg, haloumi, spinach and relish in a soft roll

My haloumi burger was ordered straight off the menu. It was quite large with generous chunks of grilled haloumi and fresh spinach inside a soft bread roll. I loved how the sweet and tangy tomato chutney complimented the cheese. The fried egg added sustenance.

Banana smoothie -banana, vanilla bean, date, macadamia butter, cinnamon and house almond mylk

Kat ordered the banana smoothie . It sounded amazing on the menu and I almost wished I could have one as well, as breakfast dessert.

Crispy buttermilk chicken - free range chicken breast, sweet potato, apple and walnut coleslaw with yoghurt dressing

We returned the following day for lunch. This time I chose the buttermilk chicken, which was a popular pick at our table. The chicken was breaded in a surprisingly spicy crumb. I loved it but I didn't expect a cafe to dish up something with so much heat. The buttermilk made the chicken very tender and moist. One disappointing factor was that it was described as crunchy on the menu but mine at least wasn't. The accompanying sides of coleslaw and sweet potato were quite tasty and filling.

Minestrone soup - classic beef broth, speck and vegetables, toasted ciabatta, parmesan and salsa verde

Kat ordered the minestrone soup which was served with bread. The soup looked wholesome and delicious with tonnes of vegetables. I helped myself to some of the veggies and found the entire dish very warming.

We loved both our meals at Belongil Bistro. The menu offerings are right up my alley and the restaurant delivers with hearty portions, fresh ingredients and good taste. Staff were friendly throughout our meals and I liked the casual yet pretty interior decor. The whole place had a welcoming vibe.
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