Share Plate Yum!
Every Easter we have a week in Brunswick Heads, only an hour-and-a-half drive from Brisbane and a holiday destination loved by my husband since his childhood. It’s got a great dog-friendly surfing beach and is a haven for fishermen … but a big attraction is that it probably has the best beer garden in Australia under the poinciana trees at the Brunswick Heads Hotel, a fantastic pub that hosts live entertainment many days of the week. When there we eat out every day (isn’t that what holidays are about?!), and around 10 years ago we discovered a gem of a restaurant which we have continued to visit each time we are in this fabulous part of northern NSW.
Previously known as Fat Belly Kat, it was named after the first owner Katerina, who, together with husband Damien Williams, pioneered this Greek eating experience in 2003. Katerina had worked for Stephanie Alexander at the Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder in Melbourne, but learnt many of her culinary skills from her Mediterranean born mother, from whom the shared platter concept of this restaurant was born. Kat was pregnant when they first opened the doors for trade and because she was visible from the open kitchen, her fat belly inspired the name. Three children later, this family has moved on and the restaurant is now in the capable hands of Jake and (Chef) Danie Davidson, who have altered the name slightly to the current ‘fatbellyKaf’. (A bit of trivia – shortly after it changed hands we were suitably impressed to spy Chef Luke Southwood at work in the kitchen; Luke featured in Masterchef Professionals after having recovered from a serious car accident, but is now back in his home base of South Australia.)
The philosophy of shared food and using local and organic produce, as well as the Mediterranean influence are still the same, and each year we have continued to enjoy the same favourite dishes as always, together with some new eating experiences along with some great wines and cocktails. Inside the interior is clean lines and slightly Moroccan in flavour, but we usually choose to sit on the adjacent deck to enjoy the coastal breezes. Favourites of ours, eaten in a leisurely fashion as tapas, start with a selection of oysters with pomegranate and tomato vinaigrette, manzanilla sherry and local pepper, and crumbed with capers. We follow that with eggplant and feta balls, marinated local olives and Turkish sausage and crispy fried squid. Then, the highlight … slow roasted lamb shoulder with stock root vegetables accompanied by green vegetables. “Elysium”! That’s Greek heaven to the uninitiated … so my advice would be to head in the direction of this wonderful eatery and become initiated into the experience of eating there. My guess is you will return!
View: www.fatbellykaf.com; Visit: 26 Tweed St, Brunswick Heads, NSW; Call: +61 2 6685 1100; Open: Breakfast weekends, Lunch Fri-Sun, Dinner Tue-Sun