When visiting The Farm Byron Bay, it is pretty much an obligation to take your time and spend the day there, especially if it is your first time.
As part of that full day ritual, it is also a necessity to have breakfast, lunch or dinner at Three Blue Ducks, the onsite restaurant; depending on which day you visit. Oh… and you might want to hang out at the bar for a little while too – they have some pretty good-looking cocktails…
I will start by saying, I don’t think it matters what day of the week you visit, Three Blue Ducks is busy… as in very busy. Mid week is less busy – we visited on a Friday and it was pretty busy, but we also visited again on a Sunday and it was crazy busy.
Having said that, there is a very good reason for this. The Farm, for one, is a great fun visit, so many people will be there with kids to just wander about and appreciate the day. While Three Blue Ducks has exceptional food, so it is well worth the wait, that you might have for the table and then again for your food.
This is not necessarily a bad thing. If you are in a hurry, well you are going to get edgy, but if not, just sit back, enjoy the day, enjoy the views and fresh country air, enjoy your company, and eventually you will also get to really enjoy your food.
I loved the menu. There wasn’t one thing on the menu that didn’t draw me. I had a quick flick through the breakfast menu as well, and that looked interesting too. The difficulty was in the choice, in that there were too many good ones.
So we got a beer first… we went with a Byron Bay local, Stone & Wood Garden Ale. Warm day, ice-cold beer… decisions weren’t getting any easier, but a bit of amber fluid hydration did help.
The menu focuses on local produce, much of it coming from The Farm itself. This same produce is also available from The Produce Store, so it is the full interactive experience – see where it grows, enjoy it for lunch and stock up on produce for home.
Veggies come from the market garden, pork and beef come from the cattle and pigs raised on site and from local suppliers. Focus is on ethical pasture raised and free range – there are nomadic free range chookies on the farm as well. Another thing I like to hear is that they utilise the whole beast – nose to tail – that is something I am very passionate about, so nothing goes to waste. And the lamb spit that was roasting away as an example of this looked and smelled divine!
My hubby went in for the kill instantaneously with the porchetta, which did sound amazing. I wanted to pick my way through a few things so I was being a little more complicated.
We shared some oysters with ginger and fingerlime dressing. Well, that’s not exactly true… I shared them with myself, my husband doesn’t like oysters and is allergic to ginger, so I didn’t have a fight on my hands, but I did share the raw fish with him.
The raw fish was a lovely combination of cucumber, pickled shallot and laced with farro and ponzu. It’s the simple things really. I was quite taken with the farro – which is a soaked wheat/spelt of sorts. Tasty – there were no remnants left on the plate.
The mains did take a long time to finally come, but it was busy and under the circumstances, I actually think the staff handled the ‘busy’ really well. They were friendly, fun, attentive and aware. They took turns in letting you know that you were not forgotten, and kept the drinks coming. It didn’t make the food come any quicker, but it did take our focus elsewhere and for me, well, I wasn’t in a hurry, so, whatever.
The wait was worth it. It was all good. Really good.
My main was the crispy fish wings. It is a bit of a crazy looking dish, gigantic flailing fish wings almost taking flight from the plate. It comes with a colourful salad of grapefruit, red cabbage, roasted peanuts, mint and shallots, with a spicy nahm jim dressing. Yum. I nibbled away on my fish wings, enjoyed the zest of my salad and ended up being surprisingly full.
However, there was a degree of dining envy, as my hubby’s porchetta looked sensational – rolled pork belly with pancetta, rosemary and spices. Served with braised cabbage, parsnips, roasted apple and rosemary focaccia. Oh #yesplease.
I managed to scavenge a shard of crackling – yummmm – and then lo and behold, my hubby could not quite eat it all and I ended up with a whole lot more… bonus! The pork was beautifully tender, flavours in the braised cabbage delicious and the crackling… definitely worth the wait.
We were very tempted by the Eton mess, but decided to forgo dessert, walk off some lunch (and early onset food coma), around the farm and then have some jam donuts and coffee at the adjoining, A Social Bread. However, this did not quite go to plan. Much to our dismay, they had not only sold out of donuts, but also everything else. The moral of the story is, get there early, have your donut and coffee first, walk that off, then have lunch and have the Eton mess… otherwise your obliging husband (wife, whatever) may have to backtrack nearly 50km’s on the way home because you just can’t get that jam donut out of your head…
Three Blue Ducks was really enjoyable and it was nice to see such an individual regionally focussed menu, just leave yourself time to enjoy it, especially on the weekends.
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This story was written by Petra Frieser – Pebbles + Pomegranate Seeds. Petra’s visit was paid for and unannounced.