Sharing good food with friends and sipping cocktails in the sunshine would have to be one of our favourite ways to spend the summer season here on the Tweed Coast. So when the team at Taverna in Kingscliff recently invited us to experience their brand new summer menu, we very quickly cleared our calendars.
Founded by local restaurateurs Mark Wilson and Lia Mason together with business partner Lee Middendorf of the PLB Group (also behind Tweed Coast favourites Osteria, Bombay Cricketers Club and Baked at Ancora), Taverna is an authentic Greek-inspired eatery best known for their contemporary share-style dishes and stunning beachfront location. Currently holding the #1 ranking on Tripadvisor, we were super excited to hear the team had recently revamped their menu with a fresh summer update – and lured by the promise of modern Greek cuisine and Ink Gin cocktails, we made our way down to Marine Parade on a warm and balmy Friday afternoon to taste test their newest dishes.
If you’ve never visited this beachfront gem before, you’ll first recognise Taverna for its charming exterior: a quaint white cottage with mint trim and glass windows, wrapped in bright
Suitably refreshed, we were then led through Taverna’s famous peppermint door (one of the Coast’s most Instagrammable backdrops) to our ocean view table, directly overlooking Kingscliff beach through open glass windows. For those yet to visit, Taverna’s cosy interiors are warm and inviting – doused in golden afternoon light and complete with crisp white linens, elegant tableware and exposed white brickwork. It’s the smaller details that give a special nod to co-owner Lia’s Greek heritage too; with turquoise prints from the Mediterranean dotted around the restaurant (keep an eye out for some of Lia’s very own childhood photos inside the Taverna bathrooms!).
After getting settled with a friendly introduction from the welcoming Taverna team, we started with rustic olive bread fresh from sister eatery Baked at Ancora, along with Taverna’s signature Byron Bay haloumi with bush honey and rosemary (a staple for every visit).
We then proceeded to sample a selection of Taverna’s new summer dishes – each one seamlessly explained by our attentive
Some standouts: the confit ocean trout (with crispy skin and zesty spring salad), juicy South Australian black mussels coated in tomato, fresh herbs and Greek salami, tender pan-fried white fish on a smooth cauliflower hummus, and for the carnivores – Taverna’s famous slow-roasted lamb, with pickled zucchini and smoked yoghurt.
Taverna’s newest summer offerings also shine a spotlight on vibrant produce and fresh citrus tones, with a selection of thoughtful side plates being passed around throughout the evening. The grilled fennel (packed with flavour) was a favourite amongst our crew, along with the charred broccolini drizzled in tangy lemon yoghurt, and roast carrot falafel atop a crunchy alfalfa salad. Bursting with colour and texture, each dish is also beautifully presented on eclectic ceramic plateware to make the dining experience just that little bit extra special.
As the night went on, the restaurant was packed with a great Friday night vibe – quietly buzzing, while still feeling intimate. Completely stuffed, we finished our meal on dessert cocktails and red wine, watching diners take advantage of the perfect #TavernaDoor photo opportunities as the sun set over the coastline.
Our final verdict? Packed with fresh flavours and stunning local produce (with a killer cocktail list and ocean views to boot), we reckon this is a pretty perfect way to spend a relaxing afternoon with loved ones this summer. But don’t just take our word for it – book in to try Taverna’s new summer menu for yourself these holidays. We’ve teamed up with Taverna to offer our Tweed Coast Guide followers a special discount – simply use code TCG10 when booking online to enjoy 10% off your bill!