Northern NSW welcomes newcomers Belongil Beach Italian Food and Livi

Maurice Terzini's new venue, Belongil Beach Italian Food.
Maurice Terzini's new venue, Belongil Beach Italian Food. Photo: Nikki To

Hold your hats, northern NSW is making a late charge in 2022. The holiday season has kicked off with restaurateur Maurice Terzini opening the doors at Belongil Beach Italian Food, and Good Food can reveal that a trio of talented hospo professionals has made a surprise strike on up-and-coming Murwillumbah, where they'll debut Livi restaurant on Australia Day.

But first things first. Terzini and business partner Deke Miskin snared some prime beachside restaurant turf earlier this year, a few doors along from local stalwart Treehouse on Belongil.

The Icebergs restaurateur says it's been a 20-year dream of his to push into the Byron Bay market. And while he describes it as "a simple everyday beach restaurant", he's imported plenty of polish. Dave Owen (CicciaBella, Icebergs) has joined the restaurant as GM and partner, while head chef Danny Rossi oversees an opening menu where you can jump off the beach and grab a Moreton Bay Bug roll or wagyu bresaola and calamari fritti.

Antipasti at Belongil Beach Italian Food.
Antipasti at Belongil Beach Italian Food. Photo: Nikki To

A little closer to the Queensland border, Murwillumbah has taken some dining strides in 2021. Tweed River House opened in September. Now Livi, a European-influenced bistro, will slide into an art deco building in the hinterland town.

The Livi team has some runs on the board. Head chef Ewen Crawford worked at Melbourne's MoVida restaurant, as did one of his partners in the venue, Nikky Wilson. Her twin sister and the third partner at Livi, Danni Wilson, honed her skills in the kitchen at the Carlton Wine Room.

With cured snapper, mackerel hanging above the hibachi grill and prime pork chop in their food sights, Livi's menu is inspired by the trio's travels, coupled with local produce.

Livi slides into an art deco building in Murwillumbah's M|Arts Precinct.
Livi slides into an art deco building in Murwillumbah's M|Arts Precinct. Photo: Supplied

"The bars, restaurants and wandering the cobbled streets of Cadiz, Sanlucar and Seville [in Spain] are some of my favourite food experiences and are the biggest influences on my cooking," says Crawford.

"All of the elements are simple, but combined make for a magical experience. With the beautiful ingredients of the region, we can create honest, confident, delicious food."

Livi's interior, furniture and art and object have been designed by David Flack of Flack Studio. It opens January 26.