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  • Milt Barlow

Shelter Restaurant, Lennox Head

Food 5/5

Staff 4/5

Value 5/5

Would I return 5/5

Overall 5/5

The Northern Rivers is blessed with some amazing restaurants and incredibly innovative chefs, and one of the best can be found at Shelter in Lennox Head.

I have been dining here regularly for the past five years and the one thing that stands out is consistency. Troy Noonan, Andrew Love and their talented team have just finished a sparkling new renovation and it’s the place to be, especially when its beautiful wooden window-shutters are wide open and a lovely cool breeze is blowing in off the beach. The venue’s big news for 2024 is the arrival of new Head Chef, Cameron Irving.

Cameron began his career locally but has been cooking at the highest level for the past 25 years, mostly in Europe. During this time Cameron became one of only a handful Australian chefs ever to be awarded and retain a Michelin star in his own independent fine dining restaurant - Project - located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Cameron's style of cooking is flavour-driven with an Asian influence. This style has always been in Shelter’s DNA and I could not wait to see what new bent Cameron brought to an already terrific menu. 

So it was with great anticipation that we dropped in for lunch to road test Cameron’s new Chef’s Tasting Menu. There are seven courses in total for a very reasonable $90 per person.

First up were some succulent, plump oysters from the Manning River, complimented with a delightful soy passionfruit vinaigrette and pickled ponzu roe. Delicious and our taste buds were on high alert for Cameron’s next treat.

Certainly no disappointment followed with succulent fat scallops dressed with green chili and roasted garlic. Each flavour exploded in the mouth in a refreshing sensation. Clean, fresh and tasty.

Next up was a wonderful vegetarian creation of roasted carrots, brown butter, pickled shiitake and rice vinegar. Chef Cameron has mastered the style of letting the dish have lots of ‘air’ around it, creating a taste that lets your palette identify the individual ingredients and the dish as a whole. Nice work chef.

Shelter has always had a leaning to seafood so next up it was a delightful dish of raw kingfish, salsa verde and lime leaf followed by a dish that Shelter has been famous for, their Moreton Bay bug roll. Cameron has updated the creation to have a lighter roll that lets the flavours of the roast miso and gochujang complement, but not overwhelm, the bug. Gochujang in case you were wondering is a spicy Korean paste made from red chili peppers, fermented soya beans, rice and salt. Fabbo.

The final main serve was pan roasted market fish which today was Blue Eye Travella served with smoked dashi (a vegetarian stock made from dried shitake mushrooms), asparagus, leeks and dried kombu (seaweed kelp). The word ‘superb’ doesn’t do it justice. ‘Heaven’ is a much better word.

Complimented by a great wine list, the usual attentive Shelter staff and Cameron’s direction as Head Chef, Shelter will no doubt be headed for its own Michelin rating or a ‘hat’ or two from the Good Food Guide.

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