Banksii is a seaside greenhouse. It’s flush with sunlight, surrounded by glass, painted with the pastel colours of the seaside bush and looks onto the harbour. Botanicals are infused into the wine, cooked in seafood broths and mixed into Martinis.
The inspiration here is vermouth. The idea comes from Bar H owners Hamish Ingham and Rebecca Lines.
The kitchen forages and the produce it uses represents the locality its staff members work in.
Try Sydney rock oysters with dry vermouth and foraged lantana flowers. And crisp sardines with a smoky roast-garlic aioli. The rest of the menu is for sharing. Local greens are mixed with cheese and baked in a pie; a kangaroo carpaccio is balanced with pickled radish and nasturtium; and mussels are cooked in white vermouth, huge green olives and nettle butter. The vermouth opens the mussels and gives them a dry sweetness.
The desserts are grandma-inspired. There’s a trifle with vermouth sponge, burnt-vanilla custard and rosella-and-raspberry jelly, and a caramelised pear and rosemary cake.
The bar pours a wide selection of vermouths (including a Banksii-branded drop made with Maidenii); a good non-fortified wine list (including some on tap); and a long and impressive cocktail menu including two Spritzes, a vermouth dry Martini and several botanical-inspired mixes.