Top chef Colin Fass­nidge has made a re­turn to his pub grub roots, but you may only re­alise it by tast­ing the lus­cious food at this Banksia lo­cal

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Stellar - - Contents - AN­THONY HUCKSTEP RE­VIEWS BANKSIA BISTRO 288 Princes Hwy Ser­vice Rd, Banksia, banksi­a­ho­

Colin Fass­nidge’s Banksia Bistro.

THANK God they didn’t call it Fass­nidge’s. I’ve al­ways thought it un­nec­es­sary to put your name so brazenly above the door of a restau­rant. It only ex­ac­er­bates ex­pec­ta­tion.

But pleas­ingly Banksia Bistro, in the Banksia Ho­tel along the burnt rub­ber bi­tu­men of the Princes High­way, has hired the help of celebrity chef Colin Fass­nidge and stopped well short of a neon sign declar­ing the fact. They’ve clev­erly leant on the ex­per­tise with­out all the fuss (or is it the ‘Fass’).

Banksia hasn’t for­got­ten it’s a pub. It hasn’t out-priced lo­cals, con­fused their palates or treated them like culi­nary Lud­dites. With a con­fi­dent swag­ger, it’s dish­ing up pub fare far bet­ter than most wa­ter­ing holes, yet keep­ing it sim­ple.

To­gether with busi­ness part­ner Clay­ton Ries, Fass­nidge brought in for­mer Three Weeds pan-han­dler Leigh Mc­di­vitt to de­liver a menu that strad­dles pub favourites with lighter, more con­sid­ered con­tem­po­rary cui­sine too. While TV screens still scream sport, in the din­ing area it’s light and airy, fur­nished with sim­ple wooden ta­bles and chairs. It’s clearly more about pro­vid­ing a com­fort­able place than an op­u­lent din­ing den.

Serv­ings are gen­er­ous, and there are burg­ers, fish ’n’ chips and schnitzels for those want­ing a quick fix. But this is el­e­vated pub grub.

Cubes of raw al­ba­core are tossed in a fen­nel and blood or­ange salad. Fass­nidge’s sig­na­ture chicken bread is topped with caramelised onions and a scoop of vel­vety chicken liver par­fait. Then sor­rel butter melts over crisp­skinned barramundi served with charred and pick­led radic­chio. And the bold flavour of Wagyu flank is ac­com­pa­nied by whole baby leeks.

Sure, you’re more likely to see Fass­nidge on the small screen than on the pans, but that’s ok. Banksia doesn’t need his pres­ence to draw crowds – his food is do­ing that just fine.

FROM TOP Suck­ling pig sausage roll, and the light din­ing room that re­tains its com­fort­able, pub vibe.

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