Three Blue Ducks to open wine bar in Byron Bay, as fresh talent flocks in

The luxe Byron at Byron resort has snagged chef Etienne Karner.
The luxe Byron at Byron resort has snagged chef Etienne Karner. Photo: Supplied

With half the country seemingly set to pour into Byron Bay over summer and the other half hitting refresh on their computers trying to find accommodation there, Byron is set to have its time in the sun as Australia's food capital.

And there's plenty to report from its food frontline. The Three Blue Ducks crew – who operate The Farm just out of town – are calling time on their nightclub, Locura, in Byron Bay.

"We are going to open a food-focused wine bar in its place on December 10. We haven't settled on the name, but it'll have Three Blue Ducks in it. We're in our 40s now, a nightclub wasn't quite us," says co-owner Darren Robertson.

A new 15-dish food menu sounds more Robertson's speed than a DJ turntable, with the former Tetsuya's chef saying they'll still have a late-night offering.

Some serious food pedigree has rolled into Byron just in time for the summer rush.

One-time Balzac owner-chef Matt Kemp is back from gigs further up the coast, popping up at Byron's iconic Beach Hotel.

The luxe Byron at Byron resort has snagged chef Etienne Karner, the former executive chef at the Park Hyatt Sydney, who has a CV littered with Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe.

Karner has opened a new restaurant, Forest, that leans heavily on local produce, as part of Byron at Byron's $6 million upgrade. The chef tells Good Food he's finalising a summer menu that will include spanner crab salad with watermelon and pickled daikon.

At Raes, chef Jason Saxby has installed a small kitchen as part of the launch of Rae's Cellar Bar V2: "We are about to undertake a seafood salumi program that will see us curing and drying our own local tuna, swordfish and whatever else we can get." Throw in some cocktails and Byron is looking even more promising this summer.

"It's a special place that's only getting better and better," Saxby says.