The Banksia Tree opened in May this year on Vincent Street in Port Adelaide. It offers fine food, coffee, tea, juices, smoothies, wines, beers and cheeky brunch cocktails; all sourced locally and ethically. It's definitely one of the new breed of establishments that make Port Adelaide a cool place to be if you know where to go.
The interior is a mix of old and new. Big ceiling fans and pendant lighting hang from the roses on the high ceiling. The wood floors and furniture make the space feel spacious and welcoming. On one wall, a collection of black and white photos evoke the history of the port district. A stack of red gum by the fireplace adds a natural and lively feel to the the front corner by the window.
The Banksia Tree's primary ethos is "local, seasonal and sustainable", says owner Fabian Folghera. He tells me how hard he works to source ingredients locally and how "making so much of the menu in-house helps to reduce our environmental footprint". It also keeps things affordable, which is a pleasant surprise.
It's honestly a star studded list of South Australian produce. The pasture fed beef is from the Limestone Coast, free range chickens and eggs are from the Falkai Valley near Strathalbyn, grains and pulses are farmed on the Yorke Peninsula, the oats are single origin from Kangaroo Island and only in-season fruits and veggies are used. The menu also features plenty of native herbs, nuts and fruits not often seen in menus around town.
The menu is a breakfast and brunch focused affair with some gourmet burgers and ever-changing savoury specials to satisfy the most voracious appetite in style. There's also affordable and quick grab and go lunch options like egg and bacon rolls for the lunchtime work crowd.
By way of introduction, allow me to describe three delicious dishes from the amazing menu at The Banksia Tree in more detail.
The house-made granola is served with Fleurieu yoghurt, coconut caramel, fresh fruit and zesty orange dust. There's flakes of quinoa, crunchy macadamias and chewy native berries mixed in with the oats. Pour some milk (provided) over the top and dig in! Is it healthy or indulgent? I don't know and I don't care. It's amazing.
The Banksia Benedict is served with poached eggs (on bacon if you wish) on sourdough with grilled asparagus and an avocado hollandaise. This green hollandaise is deliciously saucy but also has a wonderful fresh avocado flavour to create a magical combination. We chose to add some hashbrowns to round it out.
Our Levant platter (only $7 at the time of writing OMG) featured fresh sourdough (pita bread usually but that's ok), celery and carrot sticks with crunchy chickpeas served on a smoked paprika hummus. The smoked paprika hummus is a fine example of fresh plant-based deliciousness!
The drinks menu is perfect for a business or catch-up coffee, while also featuring SA wines, beers and cocktails for that cheeky alcoholic brunch we all love. The coffee beans are small-batch roasted and sourced from farmers paid above free trade rates. The list includes all the fancy lattes and teas you can think of alongside freshly pressed juices and smoothies.
Turn to the next page of the menu and you'll find a wicked list of beers from Pirate Life, Big Shed and Coopers, organic SA wines, and local gins from 23rd Street, Applewood and Something Wild.
The Banksia Tree prides itself on a seasonal menu so it changes often. Fabian mentioned that seasonal spring chicken might be on the menu soon. I'm hoping that when I return I'll get to try his fabled XO crab. Having been a sous chef at Press, he knows what he's doing and it really shows in the menu.
Do yourself a favour and get down to The Banksia Tree at 147 Vincent Street in Port Adelaide for a breakfast or lunch experience you won't soon forget.