Dining in Graze at Elements is a surprising experience. Not only is the food superb but it’s not until you’re walking back to your room that you realise you’ve just eaten in a hotel lobby.*
It’s been a while since Mrs Romance and I were last in Byron Bay. It’s good to be back in this fun coastal town on the northern end of New South Wales.
Famous for being the most easterly point of mainland Australia, Cape Byron also has a keen surfing culture and attracts visitors from all sorts of walks of life – especially during the whale and backpacker migration seasons.
But while the town itself still has that slightly hippy, party quality, the surrounding areas have really developed into amazing destinations on their own. Focus in the hospitality industry has really turned to sustainability and using local produce, which is something we really love.
Elements of Byron – the newest hotel to pop up in the area – is very much focused on its ‘radius dining’, and its restaurant Graze at Elements works hard to source produce from local growers and producers. This coupled with talented back-of-house staff makes for some astounding results.
*Thanks to a recent email from a reader who stayed at Elements (late 2017), we’re sad to hear that the atmosphere of Elements has become less about romantic couple’s escapes and more family getaway. This is regarding the resort accommodation and pool – I hope the quality of the dining experience at Graze hasn’t suffered.
But before you book your table at Graze, we’d recommend checking out up-to-the-minute ratings sites for what it’s like there now. Fingers crossed this part of the resort hasn’t changed as we’d love to come back to this restaurant again.
Graze at Elements
To the left of the grand main entrance to the building, opposite the reception area, Graze offers some incredible lunch and dinner options to visitors and guests. Often a new hotel with a new restaurant can start showing holes in its service and food quality when it’s just starting out. Not here.
We were really impressed with our dinner, and were keen to include this place in our top places to eat in and around Byron Bay. The menu brings local produce to your table in abundance – from the ocean to the hinterland – and it’s all superbly cooked.
Mrs Romance ordered the Moreton Bay bug tail from the specials menu, which was a surprisingly large serve. It was tender, juicy and moreish, and a delicious crusty top.
I had the crab doughnuts, which were like tiny creamy crab-filled cob rolls or profiteroles. The crab filling was driven by truffle, citrus and spicy sumac. The doughnuts themselves were light and bready, and the thousand island sauce had a pleasant smoky spice to it.
Mrs R had the grilled red emperor with preserved lemon, and roasted shucked corn salsa. The fish was light yet firm, and the zingy salsa matched perfectly.
I felt like a meaty feast, so I ordered the Cape Grim aged eye fillet with watercress. The steak, a huge 250g towering hunk of meat, was superbly cooked and rested. Even though I asked for it rare, there wasn’t a sign of blood on my plate at any time, but the meat was red, juicy and exactly rare. The red wine jus it came with was very savoury and thick.
Both mains came with a generous portion of the most amazing chips. The only shame is that they’re served with ketchup, which doesn’t do the chips justice. I was expecting something a bit more creative or at least house made.
We were pretty stuffed by the end of the meal, but managed to squeeze in a shared dessert. It’d be rude not to, right?
Graze’s interpretation of a Golden Gaytime was calling our name too loudly. This deconstructed classic Aussie ice cream comes as a dome two-tone layer of ice cream under a shell of tempered chocolate, dolce de leche, honeycomb biscuit crumb and brandysnap wafer. It’s a real work of art and it tastes amazing!
We were really impressed with the service here, and the seating is designed to almost hide you from the rest of the hotel. Yes, that means it’s private, but it also means you can’t really see the reception desk and the hotel entrance, even though it’s in the same room.
It was only as we left that we remembered that we were staying here… which is probably just as well. I don’t think I could have fit into our car anyway!
After dinner, we walked through the hotel’s beautiful lagoon pool area and had a quick look at the beach. Then – sleepy, stuffed and very satisfied, we strolled back to our cabin and a great night’s sleep.
Graze at Elements
Open 7 days a week: breakfast – 7.00am-10.30am, lunch – 12.00pm-3.00pm, dinner – 6.00pm-9.30pm
Good for: amazing breakfasts and lunches, but especially dinner. The perfect meal to punctuate a romantic holiday away in the Cape Byron area.
Elements of Byron
144 Bayshore Drive
New South Wales
If you’re looking for other ‘food-spiration’ for Byron Bay, check out our post on where to eat in Byron. And if you’re wondering what else there is to do here other than eat, here’s a link to our post on top things to do in the Cape Byron area.
Have you been to Byron Bay recently? Have you been surprised by dinner at a hotel – good or bad – in the past? Tell us in the comments!