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
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.