The one thing I have always loved about Byron Bay is that there are ample and delicious food options for vegetarians such as myself. For diners like me, it is not always easy to find satisfying vegetarian options when travelling, so when visiting Byron Bay I take great comfort in knowing that in just about every cafe and restaurant, there will be at least one item on the menu for me to enjoy. But a real highlight for me when visiting Byron is dining at The Cardamom Pod - a fantastic little vegetarian cafe tucked away in an arcade in the town centre.
The Cardamom Pod has played host to many happy diners (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian alike) for many years now, and is popular with visitors and locals. Their offering of traditional Indian dishes as well as modern fusion cuisine means that there is something for everyone here, so it's no surprise that this place remains so popular. Run by Hare Krishna devotees, the food at The Cardamom Pod is egg-free, as well as the vast majority of dishes also being onion and garlic free. The food on offer here (like at Govinda restaurants around the world) is 'sattvic'. In Ayurveda, a sattvic or yogic diet is one that is clean, pure and wholesome. The food is never too salty nor sweet, and it satisfies the body and soul.
Hot, comforting food is available, including an array of traditional Indian dishes such as dals, paneer dishes, kofta balls in gravy, and vegetable preparations to be enjoyed alongside rice, papadums and samosas. There are also more western dishes available such as vegetarian lasagne. Vibrant and freshly prepared salads and tempting desserts entice us from the chilled display upon our arrival, and I just know it's going to be hard deciding on what to order!
We are greeted and served by the lovely Drew, who guides us through the hot food and salads available for the day. He also tells us a bit about where the cafe sources their ingredients, much of which is locally grown and organic. I also learn that a local dairy supplies them with fresh milk from which they make their own paneer - a firm cottage cheese often used in Indian cuisine. Nothing beats freshly made paneer - it's delicious!
The great thing about dining with a group of family/friends is that you can sample a wide range of dishes, and there are no hard feelings about the occasional stolen taste test from your fellow diners' plates! For your viewing pleasure, here are some pictures of our sumptuous vegetarian feast...
I thoroughly enjoy my vegetarian lasagne served with side salad. The Moroccan inspired baby spinach, chickpea and tomato salad with tangy yoghurt dressing is really good...
To finish, we share a slice of lemon and vanilla bean baked cheesecake with poached pear and syrup - simply divine!
Ladybird and family dined as guests of The Cardamom Pod.
The Cardamom Pod
Shop 8, The Pier Arcade
7 Lawson St
Byron Bay, NSW