One of the things I love most about life and in particular my seemingly insatiable appetite for new food adventures …… is that remaining open to new possibilities and new flavours brings with it …….. new adventures! Soooooooo, with this in mind I ventured recently to No Bones restaurant just down from the Surf Club in Byron Bay, a fun and friendly new(ish) vegan restaurant that is challenging the theory that meat eaters and vegans can’t all dine happily together!
(me looking confused perusing the menu, before I got smart and just asked the waiter for their recommendations)
Owners Tahlia & Jasmina have put their collective and inspired heads together to curate and perfect a fun and exciting planted based menu that is broad in choice and big on flavour.
OK, so let’s be frank here, I think one of the biggest hurdles for most people to try a plant based only menu, is the notion that you are going to miss out on flavour. And let’s be honest, most of the time this is 100% true BUT thankfully NOT at No Bones! These girls and their crew have undoubtedly spent countless hours testing and creating recipes that are downright freck’n mind-blowingly awesome, delivering on flavour in a big big way!
As you’ve probably worked out already from my restaurant reviews, I’m a big fan of chatting to the waiters when I visit a new eatery and learning from the waiters what they recommend that I should order, because let’s face it, these guys see the food come out of the kitchen everyday and know first-hand via customer feedback (and their own tastebuds), what’s good. So why wouldn’t you go straight to the most knowledgeable source available to you in the room for guidance on the menu?! It just makes good sense my fabulous foodie friends.
OK so let’s start our little dance with flavour at the Duck Pancakes, made using “Seitan” (a popular meat alternative for plant based food lovers), the Seitan was served in crispy strips (that kind of looked like oyster mushrooms), but tasted like Peking Duck …….. yes ….. seriously it tasted like actual Peking Duck! And came with the classic combination of thin pancakes, crunchy cucumber sticks and lashing of Hoisin Sauce. And yeah, I’m not to proud to admit that I might have cheered rather loudly, when I flipped a coin for the last Peking Duck combo with my dinner buddy Carmen and won the toss! I got to devour the last pancake all to myself!
(Seitan masquerading as Peking Duck and doing a fine job at it!)
Next on our little plant based flavour journey of enlightenment was the Vegan Prawn Taco the prawn had the flavour and texture of a real prawn but wasn’t a prawn and I gotta say, I was totally loving being shown that there can definitely be flavour flavour flavour using plants only, if you are patient and dedicated like the crew at No Bones to achieve recipe perfection! Hey but before we go any further we really must talk about the Mac N Cheese w mushrooms, truffle and herb crumb. Not only does it come in a super cute cast iron pot, that just oozes home-cooking charm, it has the richness and full mouthfeel flavour of a traditional Mac N Cheese but without all the cream and cheese, which completely doesn’t make sense! But hey, life doesn’t aways make sense and you know what?? I’m happy that not everything makes sense sometimes, especially when it tastes this good!
(these are a few of my favourite things)
Now your probably (like me) thinking how the dickens can you make a Hamburger without the meat? Enter the No Bones Burger, made using our new flavour friend Seitan, yep really the No Bones Burger creation looks, tastes and smells like a traditional meat burger BUT without the meat and also comes with a banging house-made special sauce, plus all the classic trimmings of caramelised onion, vegan cheese, pickles, tomato sauce, lettuce and of course fries with a vegan friendly aioli.
(so much choice and sooooooooo much flavour)
Other fun stuff on the menu that is on my list for our next visit are; Hand-Made Ravioli w roasted pumpkin, home-made almond ricotta and shaved macadamia and horseradish and the King Oyster Mushrooms w Panko grilled king oyster mushrooms, marinated in chickpea miso, celeriac mash and home-made Teriyaki sauce.
(there is a certain kinda restrained confidence that I love about this simple yet elegant dish of Broccolini + Ginger + Garlic)
And the fun doesn’t stop just at the food menu either! No Bones, have a stack of fun and local ingredient flavour driven cocktails like the Raspberry Beret that on the menu is described as “our sexiest cocktail yet, a raspberry and coconut pisco sour that’s bound to get you wet” OR the Aztec Pride with an equally fun flavour profile description of “a wonderful vibrant combination of lemon, apricot and tequila. If you could drink the sunset as it sinks into the sea, this is what it would taste like.
So if like me you like to discover new ways of enjoying food and flavour, I reckon you need to book yourself a table at No Bones like stat!
Until next time.