One perfect day in Brunswick Heads, NSW

Local chef David Moyle recommends La Casita Mexican restaurant in Brunswick Heads.
Local chef David Moyle recommends La Casita Mexican restaurant in Brunswick Heads. Photo: Supplied

The Good Food team share their favourite places to eat and drink in their second homes.

The best thing about Brunswick Heads is that it isn't Byron Bay. Just 15 minutes' drive north, it's never had a traffic jam and probably thinks paparazzi is a pizza joint. A river runs through it – the Brunswick – flowing down from the hills above Mullumbimby, gathering in kayaks and fishing tinnies before it meets the sea in a froth of foaming surf. Bruns, as the locals call it, has a sleepy, small-town, ordinary, everyday beauty.

But just when you think it's all a bit of a yawn, you start to discover its treasures. The landmark Hotel Brunswick, for instance, with its glorious poinciana-shaded beer garden and colonnaded red-brick 1940s architecture. It's the sort of pub you'd take your grandad to if you wanted to make him as happy as a clam. Ditto the Brunswick Picture House, an enchanting little cinema that houses cheeky cabaret acts and stars such as Ben Lee and Wil Anderson.

And there, in the middle of it all, is a tiny 16-seat restaurant called Fleet, much loved for the engaging charm of its service and the luminous, witty food of chef Josh Lewis. It's won every gastronomic award in Australia – probably twice – but hasn't let it go to its head.

Next door is Honour, which turns from cafe by day to wine and salumi bar at night – what a great combination – and in the next street is Cadeau, a friendly wine-focused diner with highly rated snacks such as pigs' head fritters. For picnic fare, hit up a local farmers' market (emoji hearts for Mullumbimby, every Friday), and do not go home without a bag of Coopers Shoot tomatoes.

Then there's Natural Ice-Cream Australia. Wal Foster-Eyles parks his gypsy caravan in the main drag on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, selling small-batch cultured ice-cream that sings with the thrilling taste of wild and indigenous ingredients. Local sweetcorn ice-cream with miso caramel and panama berries? Only in Brunswick Heads.

Insider's tip: David Moyle, food director of Byron's Harvest restaurant group, loves Brunswick Heads' funky little wood-fired Mexican cantina, La Casita. "I can literally sit on the street with my dog and a taco and a margarita, and have the best time," he says. "It's really beautiful, and the chef, Saffron, cooks like a dream."

Brunswick Picture House, 30 Fingal Street, brunswickpicturehouse.com

Cadeau Bar and restaurant, 26 Mullumbimby Street, cadeaurestaurant.com

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Fleet, shop 2, 16 The Terrace, fleetrestaurant.com.au

Honour, shop 4, 16 The Terrace, honourbrunswickheads.com

Hotel Brunswick, 4 Mullumbimbi Street, hotelbrunswick.com.au

La Casita, shop 5, 3 Fawcett Street, lacasita.com.au

Natural Ice-Cream Australia, 21 Mullumbimby Street, @naturalicecreamaustralia