Australia's first vermouth bar is here, and it's brought to you by the talented team behind Bar H.
Chef Hamish Ingham and his sommelier wife Rebecca Lines will run the harbourside venue, serving breakfast through to dinner. Banksii (pronounced "banks-ee", like the British graffiti artist) owes its name to Sir Joseph Banks, Australia's first botanist. The garden theme carries on to the vermouth-heavy drinks list and a food menu with a strong botanical focus.
The menu will lean towards the Mediterranean with a native Australian slant. "I've been using native Australian ingredients for a long time now," says Ingham. "There will be native ingredients on the menu, but it won't be a focus. We will be using a lot of international botanicals as well."
Dinner will see the likes of mussels cooked in vermouth with green olive, tomato and sea succulents, and John Dory roasted whole with heirloom tomatoes and a pepperberry dressing. At breakfast look out for the rosemary sheep's milk yoghurt with fresh honeycomb and brioche.
Vermouth will be the feature of the drinks menu, along with an extensive Oz-Euro wine list and a tight, classically focused cocktail list. "Vermouth is having a bit of a resurgence," says Lines. "In Spain there are a lot of vermouth bars and they have started to open in London as well." The trend has now hit Australia, following a boom in locally produced vermouths. Lines will work with Australian vermouth brand Maidenii to produce their own bespoke vermouth blend.
Banskii will be designed by architecture firm Luchetti Krelle, known for its interiors at both Momofuku Seiobo and Acme. The fit-out will lend a nod to the Banks era of the late 18th century, with antique columns and a conservatory feel - minus the plants. "There will be references to Banks throughout the restaurant," says Lines, "including a backlit wall of the first photographs of botanicals."
Ingham is set to put aside the chopsticks and return to his European roots at Banskii. "I'm looking forward to getting in there and cooking Western food again."
Banksii opens at Barangaroo in September.