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A macadamia moment with Chef Hamish Ingham

Hamish Ingham is an award-winning chef whose creativity has been at the forefront of Sydney dining for almost two decades. Together with his wife Rebecca Lines, he owns and operates Banskii Vermouth Bar and Bistro at Barangaroo. 

What are you spending most of your time on in the kitchen at the moment? 

Most recently, I’ve been writing the new menu for autumn, which launched this month. 

Where do you look for inspiration when you are creating a menu?

Everywhere really. There are a number of things that I do. I’ve got around 300 cookbooks at home, so that’s where I usually start. I always take a trip to the local veggie market and fish market, then go down to my suppliers and check out what’s happening and what’s coming in. And I also get inspiration from eating out, looking at what other people are doing, seeing what’s out there.

What’s the one ingredient you can’t live without?

It would have to be turmeric. I make a turmeric pickle that goes with our prawn dish [grilled prawns, curry leaf butter, pickled turmeric] and I just can’t live without the turmeric pickle! And now my mum makes it –  she always has a jar of it in her fridge at home. It’s super healthy for you too. 

Do you remember when you first tried a macadamia?

Gosh, no I don’t. I would have been a kid!

What’s your favourite way to enjoy macadamias?

I like to make a creamed macadamia dip, which is currently on the menu at Banksii [creamed macadamia, fried sage, sweet & sour currants, toasted bread], which is a very popular dish and a great vegan option.  We liken it to the Australian version of hummus, everyone loves hummus – it’s a great way to start a meal, we serve it with a fried bread and sage.

What’s the best thing about macadamia nuts? 

The best thing about macadamias is that they’re native to Australia. Also their healthy qualities. We should all be using more of them in cooking.

Where’s your favourite place to eat – anywhere in the world? 

Chez Panisse, San Francisco. 

If you were an ice cream what flavour would you be?

That’s a hard one. I think I would be something clean and simple. Perhaps crème fraiche-flavoured ice cream. I would also pour vermouth over the top, almost like a sgroppino (which is prosecco poured over gelato).

Creamed macadamia, fried sage, sweet and sour currants at Banksii Sydney

More about Hamish Ingham

Hamish Ingham is an award-winning chef whose creativity has been at the forefront of Sydney dining for almost two decades. Together with his wife Rebecca Lines, he owns and operates Banskii Vermouth Bar and Bistro at Barangaroo.

He launched his career at Billy Kwong in Surry Hills, honing his Chinese cooking skills under Kylie Kwong. 

In 2004 Hamish won the prestigious Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year Award, which allowed him to travel to the United States where he worked at Gramercy Tavern, Craft and Amy’s Bakery in New York before heading to San Francisco and Alice Waters’ seminal restaurant Chez Panisse. His experience at Chez Panisse – creating daily menus inspired by local, organic and seasonal produce – has influenced his produce sourcing and his cooking ever since.

In 2010, Rebecca and Hamish opened Bar H Dining in Surry Hills, offering diners a fresh approach to modern Asian food. Bar H quickly became a Sydney favourite and under their stewardship was awarded one hat in the prestigious Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. They sold Bar H in 2017.

In 2012 Ingham and Lines took on a year-long consultancy with Sydney’s Four Seasons Hotel to open The Woods restaurant and bar, which had a unique indigenous offering. They remained there until late 2013. 

Taking a new direction, the duo opened Mediterranean influenced, botanical focused Banksii Vermouth Bar and Bistro at Barangaroo in October 2016. Named after botanist Sir Joseph Banks and inspired by the botanicals used in the world’s best vermouths, Banksii takes a light, fresh approach in its menu, with dishes designed to share. The restaurant was awarded one hat in the inaugural national Good Food Guide 2018.

Ingham has been an ambassador for OzHarvest since 2010. 

Banskii Vermouth Bar and Bistro at Barangaroo

About Banksii

Sydney’s first vermouth bar and restaurant, Banksii Vermouth Bar and Bistro opened in October 2016 by husband and wife team Hamish Ingham (Executive Chef) and Rebecca Lines (Restaurant Manager and Sommelier) in the city’s new waterfront precinct of Barangaroo. 

With a strong focus on botanicals, Banksii is lovingly named after Sir Joseph Banks, the first botanist to adventure and document the plants and botanicals of Australia. 

The contemporary menu is light and fresh influenced by the Mediterranean, while the drinks list is extensive with more than 35 vermouths, classic cocktails and 150 wines. The 200-seater restaurant features indoor dining and an alfresco terrace overlooking the harbour, with an indoor-outdoor bar.

Open 7 days a week for lunch, afternoon drinks and dinner, it’s the perfect location for all occasions.

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