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…
When Michael Andrewartha moved his East End Cellars business across Vardon Avenue to bigger digs, with the opportunity to complement the retail offer with a tasting room and a pretty comprehensive menu, the old site was in need of purpose. Joining Andrewartha was Pablo Theodoros, Frank Hannon-Tan and David LeMire MW, who helped plant the seeds that sprang into Mother Vine.
Referencing the noble ‘Australian’ pinot noir clone MV6 (Mother Vine 6, via Mount Pleasant, via the James Busby Collection, via Clos Vougeot), Mother Vine’s name seeks to highlight that indelible link between the old word and the new, with a wine bar of more or less classical style.
A good 40 wines are offered by the glass, with a brace of more serious cuvees dispensed via Coravin. For those wishing to test their tasting skills, there’s even a blind options flight, where a series of multiple-choice questions can lead you towards the right, or wrong, conclusion. Acing the quiz will void the bill on the flight, and make you feel pretty good at the same time. The main list is made up of 500-odd bottles, taking in the new with the old, the classic with the experimental. The only mantra being that wines must be well made and delicious.
The food covers familiar wine-bar territory – olives, pâté, cured meats, cheese – as well as delving into chef Connie Yi Ying’s Hong Kong heritage, with char siu pork ribs, smoky duck bao and ever-changing dumplings also making appearances. Fridays see magnums opened for by-the-glass pours, presumably to celebrate the end of the traditional working week, and live Jazz eases out the weekend every Sunday.