We recently spent a couple of nights in Byron Bay and with a plethora of incredible restaurants visited, there was one that particularly stood out. Enter Barrio, a more casual restaurant and bar situated away from the hustle in Byron’s new Habitat development. With a name meaning ‘neighbourhood’ in Spanish, expect the restaurant to be jam-packed with locals catching up over a meal, making for an approachable and relaxing experience.
The 80-seater restaurant is inviting with retractable glass doors dividing spacious alfresco seating and larger communal tables. The interiors are earthy to match the surroundings featuring wooden textures, concrete floors and pops of greenery. We particularly enjoyed the open-style kitchen so you can watch the chefs work their magic on the wood-fired oven. All this with a side of friendly hospitality is what makes the atmosphere so appealing.
Hospitality heavyweight Dan Wyllie brings over 20 years of experience to Barrio. From not-so-humble beginnings at fine dining restaurant Kensington Place in London, to his time at Longrain, Guillaume at Bennelong, Salt and Cicada in Sydney, Dan got a wealth of experience before opening Barrio back in 2017.
Argentinan chef Santiago Socrate is at the helm of the kitchen taking us on a grilling adventure through some of his favourite regions. Santiago relies heavily on local farmers and growers to put up an ever-evolving menu of seasonal share plates that can best be described as soul food, packed with flavour
After training with Peruvian chef Eddie Castro at Osaka in Buenos Aires (currently no.38 World 50 Best Restaurants list), the renowned hotel Faenas and closer to home, Harvest Newrybar in Byron’s hinterland, you can bet he brings some impressive culinary skills to the tables.
Typical dishes include Sardines on toast and Jamon Croquettes to start, followed by Rainbow Tout cooked over coals with ajo blanco, Pork Steak with guindillas, capers and lemon and Barrio’s signature BBQ spatchcock served with a delicious lemon myrtle-infused butter and chicken jus.
To match you’ll find a revolving wine list heroing the best local and international wineries from around the world. The team typically supports traditionalist makers focusing on minimal intervention and biodynamic practices. Cocktails are seasonal too with the Barrio Spritz changing each week and a particularly delicious Negroni on tap with tequila, mescal, Campari and blood orange.
Every Wednesday Barrio hosts BBQ night with a specially curated menu of dishes cooked on the open fire in the courtyard. The menu changes weekly taking different themes including Vietnamese and Seafood, and there are even guest chefs that run the grill for the evening. On Thursday, 10th of November the team will invite award-winning chef Thi Le (Anchovy & Jeow, Melbourne) to join the party as part of the Caper Byron Bay Food & Culture Festival. Expect South East Asian flavours to grace the menu with a modern Australian twist.