Banksia Wine Room
Banksia Wine Room is a 50-seat wine bar directly opposite McCrae Beach. It's breezy yet cosy; a tiny bit fancy yet fun. Co-owner Ange Strickland brings her wine education from stints at Punch Lane and the now-closed Walter’s Wine Bar, as well as Rye’s Independent Wine Store which she co-owns with her partner, architect Chantelle Chiron (also a co-owner at Banksia).
Banksia's rotating wine list spans noble, classic varieties to contemporary, minimal-intervention wines. You might see Dirty Black Denim’s skin-contact pinot grigio, I Love Monsters’ rosé-style pét-nat and drops from local producers Schmolzer and Brown, alongside a barolo classico from Chianti, shiraz from Heathcote and a macvin du jura fortified wine (which might pair well with the spiced lemon crème caramel). There are around 10 wines available by the glass, along with around 100 by the bottle.
Chef Bernard McCarthy (Barn & Co, Bistro Maison) and his partner Georgie Lafontaine, a garden architect, make up the other half of Banksia. The food menu is conceptualised around varietals from local growers such as Morning Penni Farm, Cape Schanck Olive Estate and Miceli Winery.
McCarthy’s Euro-style menu is equal parts light, rich and delicate. The fish in the fluffy croquettes varies depending on local supply; ditto the lemon crudo that might come with crispy saltbush, radish and toast. The lamb’s tongue and mushroom skewers with chermoula, meanwhile, are a crowd favourite.
Banksia’s fit-out, which Chiron designed, is playful yet relaxed. The wood heater, corrugated iron roof and touches of native flora give the place the air of a luxe Australian shed, while the vaulted ceiling and white panelling keep it coastal. Gold accents suggest a little retro decadence, and the moss-green paint on the walls will add some colour to your night – along with the upbeat soul tunes humming away in the background.
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