We’d visit Yamba, 90-minutes drive south of Byron Bay, for Beachwood Café alone! Not that it’s short of old-fashioned beach holiday appeal … eleven stunning (often deserted) surf beaches, coastal walking trails through the wildly beautiful Yuraygir National Park, a seaside pub, a single-screen movie theatre, fresh local fish and chips and cute beach houses to rent – but they’re almost a side-line when you wander off the main drag up High Street and discover a hole in the wall café with a handful tables spilling out onto the footpath.
Pots of cheery home-grown roses crown every table and the blackboard menu lists a clutch of simple and delicious Mediterranean-inspired dishes featuring clean flavours, fresh local ingredients – organic where possible – prepared daily by owner and chef Sevtap Yuce.
Sevtap’s food is heavily influenced by what she learnt from her mother growing up in Turkey. After nearly 20 years in Yamba she couldn’t imagine living anywhere else and the locals and wannabe locals couldn’t bear it if she moved! Sevtap makes as much from scratch as she can and sources local fruit, vegetables, free range eggs and meat where possible. She grows her own herbs and meets a local trawler early each morning to select the best octopus, bugs, prawns and cuttlefish from the night’s catch.
Seafood dishes vary depending on what’s fresh that day. Delicious lunch standards include Turkish style sardines, lamb kofte with tomato sauce, baked eggplant, braised broad beans with garlic yoghurt and warm chicken salad.
Read Sevtap’s Yamba Fast Five for her breakfast recommendations and other must-dos in town.
*Sevtap has published two cookbooks, which you can buy from the café or bookstores around Australia.
*Turkish Flavours – Recipes from a Seaside Café
*Turkish Meze – released September 2013
Taste it for yourself:
22 High St, Yamba NSW
Phone:(02) 6646 9781
Words by Jane Hodges
Photography by Maree Azzopardi