Maurice Terzini describes his latest restaurant venture as, ‘a simple everyday beach restaurant’. Props to Maurice for his humility, but Belongil Beach Italian Food is anything but.
Acclaimed Sydney restauranter Maurice Terzini—the culinary genius behind CicciaBella and Icebergs—is the latest Sydney restaurant mogul to migrate north, having his heart set on opening a venue in Byron Bay for over twenty years. And finally, much to our delight, his dream has become a reality and its name is Belongil Beach Italian Food. Make a mental note of this one, because if you haven’t heard about it already, you’ll soon be hearing about it everywhere.
Belongil Beach Italian Food is a dreamy seaside dining experience that puts a modern twist on classic Italian dining and in a nod to today’s demand for locally sourced produce, showcases the best of family-owned Northern Rivers producers and growers, including Byron Bay mozzarella and famous Ballina prawns. Translation? Truly delicious.
The restaurant is a homage to the dreamy tones of coastal Italy and brings a breath of fresh, salty sea breeze air to the Byron Bay dining scene. The spacious, open-air interior is reminiscent of days spent lounging under the European sun with pastel-pink tones contrasted by terracotta walls, pops of greenery paying homage to its Italian roots and a constant buzz of vibrant energy.
Once you’ve lusted over the stunning interior, draw your attention to the extensive menu, which—in case the name hadn’t clued you in—showcases Italian cuisine and lets the quality produce speak, nay, sing for itself. The simplistic menu showcases the flavours of fresh, local produce and lends itself to long, laidback lunches with good company, many laughs and a glass of vino in hand.
Start slow with the spuntini and antipasti menu, which boasts a delectable array of house pickles and olives, followed by ortiz anchovies and cultured butter. Bread is mandatory for mopping up the Byron Bay mozzarella, mortadella and San Daniele proscuitto. Once you’ve warmed your palate, dig into the butterflied local sand whiting with oregano butter or the orecchiette with macadamia pesto and stracciatella. You can’t go past the signature Moreton Bay bug roll served on a potato bun with vadouvan mayonnaise or the Tasmanian sea scallops with green tomato and lemon myrtle.
As difficult as it may be, save space for dessert—the simplistic yet refined dessrt menu boasts the likes of strawberry, pistachio and mascarpone cake and traditonal Italian chocolate and olive oil mousse with rosemary cream. It’s (almost) too pretty to eat. Maurice Terzini knows not to change a thing that has been perfected over centuries, except with fresh, quality produce, and this ethos is showcased throughout his sophisticated menu.
Staying true to the wine ethos that echoes from its Sydney sister restaurants, Belongil Beach Italian Food supports local, small producers and family-run wineries and showcases wine from not only Italian but all of the Mediterranean and coastal Australia. Think: sip from Sicily to Jerez, over to the Margaret River and then back again to Sardinia. We’ll drink to that.
Belongil Beach Italian Food is the perfect marriage of tradition and modernity; it’s sophisticated yet simplistic, laid back yet refined and is a true celebration of Italian flavours. If you’ve been chasing a quality dining experience, it’s absolutely time you pull up a seat here.
What: Belongil Beach Italian Food
Where: 33-35 Childe Street, Belongil Beach
When: Open Monday to Thursday; 3pm to late
Open Friday to Saturday; 12pm to late
Open Sunday; 12pm to 10pm
For more information, click here.
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Image Credit: Nikki To