Byron Bay News
Byron Bay News
A giant neon in the shape of a crescent moon lights up Moonlight’s slick dark interiors boasting a range of textures. Plasterwork, stainless steel, concrete, cork, and Japanese timber combine to build a balanced yet layered finish for this modern fit-out. In short, it’s hard to miss -which well and truly makes up for the vague address listed on their website.
When booking or walking-in, diners have three different seating options to choose from. While you may be drawn to the dining room we highly recommend opting for a bar seat. Here you’re able to indulge in the spectacle of the completely open kitchen and bar which allows direct interaction with the chefs and bartenders.
At the helm of the kitchen is Executive Chef, Robbie Oijvall who applies a Scandinavian lens to Japanese cooking. Oijvall works with traditional techniques of the hibachi grill using a mix of hyper-local seasonal produce and sourced from afar ingredients.
It’s Oijvall’s modern take on the traditional hibachi grill that makes Moonlight so special, expect bolder and punchier flavours than your Japanese of old, along with some very unique dishes such as the watermelon sashimi – this dish is a must for vegans and meat eaters alike!
While the waitstaff are knowledgeable and more than happy to guide your culinary journey, it’s hard to take a wrong step when it comes to ordering. We loved the spicy tuna crackers topped with pickled cucumber, gochujang mayo, native finger lime and lots of chives! The pork belly from the hibachi is covered in a sweet apple sauce contains the perfect amount of fat to melt in your mouth with every bite.
The Hokkaido scallops are equally as moreish, covered in Café De Nippon butter which is Oijval’s take on Café De Paris butter. Instead of herbs and garlic he incorporates more umami flavours such as miso, tamari and shiitake to create a beautifully rich sauce that is cut through with the tartness
Moonlight’s cocktail list honours the flavours and textures of Japanese cooking. Favouring hand carved ice, attention to detail and well-tailored drinks with balanced and explosive flavours: longstanding trends in the Japanese craft of cocktail making. The menu showcases highballs made from homemade soda, natural garnishes, such as paperbark and passionfruit leaves foraged from the hinterland, and local ingredients to create aromas and for a unique fusion of cultures and flavours.
Given that it’s a wine bar, you’ll find a real energy behind the biodynamic selection which has been curated by the group’s beverage manager Sean Duncan. Expect delicate, crisp and aromatic wines to go with the equally delicate and raw dishes, along with some punchy, vibrant, textural wines to match with the grilled offerings. Ready yourself for a sensory overload!
The eye-catching new venue is owned and run by some familiar locals – James Sutherland, Robbie Oijvall and Kim Stephen, who are the team behind the much-loved Light Years Asian Diner (conveniently located next door).
Moonlight is open for dinner from 5pm, Wednesday to Sunday.
Walk-ins are welcome, or bookings can be made via the website: moonlightbar.com.au