While the name XO may convey that most emblematic of Hong Kong sauces (as well as Cognac, if that’s where it takes you), XO restaurant, in the Canberra inner suburb of Narrabundah, is far from confined to a regional cuisine, no matter how cosmopolitan that cuisine may be. XO draws broadly on the cooking of…
Many restaurants talk about sustainability, but few take the issue as seriously as Harvest in the village of Newrybar, in Byron Bay’s hinterland – solar panels (aiming to be off the grid by 2022), grey-water recycling, green waste composting, a zero-waste kitchen, glass straws… the list really does go on. And aside from the food produced in their own organic gardens, as well as sourced from local producers, Harvest have at their disposal a wild food researcher and dedicated forager, Peter Hardwick. Yes, that’s right, their own dedicated forager. Peter scours the local area for native ingredients, which he then presents to chef Alastair Waddell to craft the ever-evolving and highly individual seasonal menus.
Harvest is a charmingly sprawling venue, taking in repurposed Queenslanders, as well as outdoor spaces in and around their organic gardens. It encompasses a dining space, deli, bakery – with a 117-year-old wood-fired oven – and event spaces, both inside and out. As with the food direction, the beverage focus is very much Australian, with local brewers and distillers, such as Cape Byron Distillery, Lord Byron Distillery and Stone & Wood, favoured.
The wine list is again all Australian, with an unsurprising focus on producers who farm using organic and biodynamic methods. Minimal-intervention wines will little or no sulphur, and no chemical inputs are the order of the day, with lesser-known varieties and makers favoured, so as to highlight the diversity and quality of wine made in this country.