For many years, Banksia Hotel sat firmly in the category of non-descript roadside pub that you didn't pay too much attention to if you didn't like in a 100m radius of. Not anymore. After buying the venue in 2015, Monarch Hotels Group got to work — starting with a visual overhaul, then setting its sights on the kitchen. Once home to a Thai restaurant, the space is now the Banksia Bistro with pub-food maestros Colin Fassnidge (4Fourteen) and Leigh McDivitt (3 Weeds) at the helm.
With high wooden tables, strip and pendant lighting and polished cement floors, the space has a modern Scandi vibes. A wooden wall divides the bistro off from the bustling bar.
At first glance, the menu reads like standard pub fare — beer battered fish and chips, chicken schnitzel, bangers and mash. But followers of Fassnidge will recognise his influence and Irish heritage in the braised lamb shoulder, colcannon, and pie of the month. And, of course, the quality produce and guidance by McDivitt elevates the food beyond everyday pub grub status. The result is a dining experience that is rare, not just for a pub, but for the suburb, which is otherwise quite sparse with finer culinary options at present.