• Natalie Bannister

Cooking up a sea change

Brunswick Heads is blessed with some of the best eateries in the Northern Rivers — and you’ll find one of the finest feasts at Cadeau Bar & Restaurant.

Cadeau is like a little slice of Europe for this charming coastal community, with a sophisticated yet relaxed bistro-style menu of classic French and British dishes and a top-notch wine list focusing on artisan growers and natural varieties to match.

This laid-back restaurant and bar has quickly become a favourite for locals and visitors alike, thanks to the warm hospitality of its owners, Chef Giorgio Ravelli and his partner in life and business, Holly Ottignon. The couple combine their considerable fine dining skills, having formerly worked in two of London’s most renowned Michelin starred restaurants — him at The Ledbury, she as front-of-house at The Clove Club.

We sat down with Holly to chat about how their dream of Cadeau Bar & Restaurant started, and what they love most about their local lifestyle after relocating to Bruns from London.

First things first, introduce yourself — who are you, where do you live, and what do you do?

We are Holly and Giorgio, husband and wife team from Cadeau Bar & Restaurant in Brunswick Heads. Giorgio is the head chef and I manage the floor and wine list.

Fill us in on the Cadeau story — where did it all start, and how has it evolved?

Giorgio and I met in London nearly 14 years ago, where we were both working in fine dining restaurants. Our relationship is a timeline of all the countries and restaurants we have worked in throughout Europe. Once we started our own family, we knew it was time to open our own place, and Cadeau amalgamates all those past experiences.

What kind of an experience have you tried to create for your diners and your community?

At the core, we want to create a warm and friendly atmosphere. We want the staff to laugh and joke with the customers like old friends. It’s that old-world hospitality that we hold so dear.

Showcasing local producers and farmers is also very important to us, so Giorgio’s menu will always be made up of what he can source as locally as possible. Eclectic music and art are also a nice point of difference at Cadeau (and something I was brought up appreciating).

Tell us, what do you love most about living in Brunswick Heads?

We moved back to Australia a few years ago to start a family and be closer to nature. When we were looking for a site, we wanted to find a place that would allow a good work and life balance, which cities often don’t allow.

I would say one of our favourite aspects of living in a small community like Brunswick Heads is the close contact that we have with producers and suppliers. Giorgio loves heading off to the New Brighton market to collect what he needs for the week.

Let us in on your go-to favourite places — when it’s time to unwind, where do you like to eat, play, drink, relax and have fun around the Northern Rivers?

Our favourite place is Frida’s Field, a 120-acre farm and restaurant in the Byron Hinterland. The location is to die for, and Ally is cooking such delicious and rustic food. He and his wife Moira are such wonderful people.

What’s your weekend ritual?

A typical day off for us would be going to Black Drop in Pottsville for brunch before heading to Hastings Point for a swim in the river. The family-run cafe has an excellent chef at the helm and is delivering some of the best breakfast/brunch food in the Shire.

Share the local love! Northern Rivers’ best-kept secret is?

It’s not a secret, but you can’t go past the epic omelette making skills of Rob from Nomadic Kitchen. He and his sister run a fantastic breakfast/brunch stall at a few of the local farmers’ markets, including Mullumbimby Farmers Market. It’s a must-do! Bottle & Hoop in Brunswick Heads is also a super cute deli and bottle shop in one of the side streets of Bruns. Louisa is so passionate about what she does and will happily help you choose all your picnic essentials.

Cadeau Bar & Restaurant is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 5:30pm - 10:00pm. cadeaurestaurant.com


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