One of my favorite things about moving to Australia has been exploring the cities outside of Sydney. Keen to see as much of this wildly wonderful and weird country as I possibly, I took a short trip to Byron Bay (and then up the coast to Brisbane and Noosa) to see what all the fuss is about as well as get my hands on some tasty vegan eats.
The most interesting part about Australia is how it at once feels warmly familiar and uniquely new. The coastal cities are reminiscent of San Diego, my hometown, but still feel exciting, energizing, and strange. Byron Bay is like a micro-sized Encinitas with an emphasis on the beach bum vibe. It's a tiny, quaint, hippie-ville with an abundance of plant-based eateries. My favorite: Manna Haven.
Strangely enough, Manna Haven is a tiny cafe situated on the side of a small church! I was surprised to walk in and see church pews on my left, and cafe tables on my right. It's definitely an interesting set up. This order-at-the-counter cafe features vegan and vegetarian options, all of which sounded amazing. Selene, Averi, and I each got something different so we could taste as much as possible.
To start, we shared the polenta chips with cashew aioli. These were super yummy and satisfied each of our cravings for something savory.
As an entree, I opted for the waffles with lemon cashew cream and berry coulis. These were super delicious! The waffle itself wasn't overly sweet (as many restaurant waffles are). The touch of sugar perfectly balanced the fruity sauces. The dish was completed with fresh chopped strawberries, which were juicy, plump, and just perfect. I downed this whole plate and didn't leave a single crumb behind.
Selene ordered the vegan lasagna, which came with her choice of two different salads. This was probably the best value as it was a huge portion with lots of variety. We weren't sure if the salads were vegan so I opted not to try them, but Selene said they were quite tasty. Luckily, I got to taste the lasagna. While it wasn't the best vegan-version I've had, it was still really yummy. I loved the cashew cheese, but felt it could've used an extra spoonful of sauce. I think the oven may have dried out the edges a little too much.
Averi decided to try the fruit and muesli parfait. How pretty does this meal look?! Complete with fresh fruit, vegan yogurt, and a hefty serving of muesli, this breakfast is sure to satisfy any health nut's breakfast hunger. Averi's only complaint was that there wasn't enough yogurt!
Manna Haven was definitely my favorite spot in Byron Bay. Good food, reasonable prices, and plenty of vegan options left me feeling full and happy!
97 Jonson St.
Byron Bay NSW 2481