1. A soft pink cocktail with the OK hand signal on the foam on a table with a menu behind
    Photograph: Steven Woodbury
  2. A flat lay of caviar and chips with sour cream and chives
    Photograph: Steven Woodbury
  3. A plate of pork terrine with soft boiled eggs on top, a glass of wine to the left
    Photograph: Steven Woodbury
  4. A plate of pork terrine with soft boiled eggs on top, a glass of wine to the left
    Photograph: Steven Woodbury
  5. A bartender is pouring a cocktail out of a black and gold shaker into a coupe
    Photograph: Steven Woodbury
  • Restaurants | Bars
  • Manly

Banco Manly

Follow the neon wine bottle to this hidden cocktail bar in Manly


Time Out says

Late in 2021, a warm and cosy new diner opened its doors in Manly. Away from the
big-group owned pubs and restaurants of the wharf and beachfront, there is a growing clutch of high-quality venues quietly brewing up a vibrant and diverse dining and drinking scene.

The buzzing hub is the southern end of Pittwater Roadd (and onto Belgrave Street) but dotted around off the main drag you’ll find plenty more on offer. One of these dots is Banco, a smart-casual hole-in-the-wall restaurant from the team behind Corretto Dee Why.
You’ll find it hidden away on Whistler Street, a big neon bottle and a couple of street-side tables signalling that good times await.

The restaurant is tiny but manages to host 32 guests comfortably: you can choose
between a seat at the bar or a cosy table along the banquette, or if you’re lucky you might
grab one of the coveted outdoor spots. Banco is certainly bringing something different and
promises ‘Natural Wine - Hearty Food - Hip Hop - Cocktails’. And these it delivers in spades.
There is always the potential, that when small and busy venue hangs it hat on musical
stylings, that said music will end up locked in a noisy death spiral competing against the
thrum of customers, each attempting to drown the other out. However, it’s immediately obvious that the Banco crew has a good handle on this; the volume set firmly to Background Vibes Only, which makes the space comfortable and inviting.

Perfect for a pair or a double date and the crowd on the evening of our visit is in good spirits, the space filled with happy chatter and the sounds of food and drink thoroughly enjoyed.

Drinks give a star-turn at Banco; an exciting and inventive cocktail offering stands alongside
a progressive and adventurous wine list. If cocktails are your thing you’re bound to be
impressed here. Choose from one of three draught cocktails (a very forward-thinking idea),
the classics, or from an intricate Signature list; the Pew Pew Sour with
Davidson plum pisco, salted cucumber, fresh mint tea, chamomile and citrus has some serious wow-factor. It’s the staff pick and it’s an absolute vibe.

There’s also a foodie-twist on an old-fashioned, which in itself is enough reason to keep coming back here. The bar team at Banco have excelled at incorporating excess kitchen ingredients into balanced and brilliant concoctions.

If you’re more into wine then you can dive into a decent sized list that champions indie/next-big-thing Australian producers alongside both classic and hard-to-find European producers. The list is thoughtfully curated to include something for any occasion and it’s also a bold step for the area - Manly (and all of the Beaches for that matter) are traditioanlly a little warier of the south side of the Bridge when it comes to the wilder side of wine.

Hearty food is a good way to describe what young English chef Dan Webb is doing here.
The one-page menu is full of original ideas alongside some familiar fare and reads like a Best of British, albeit laden with Australian flourishes. Webb tells us with a twinkle in his eye that each dish is a signature dish in a sense, as it won’t be found anywhere else. These dishes are uniquely his, homages to childhood perhaps, or to the formative kitchens of his earlier career.

It’s practically impossible not to start with the Tuscan bread with Vegemite butter because,
well, who can resist the idea of Vegemite butter? The childhood lunchbox favourite delivers exactly what it promises, crunchy and fluffy bread and a generous amount of cultured butter. Whipped and aerated with just enough Vegemite not to overtake the creamy-saltiness of good quality butter, a happy marriage.

Ham hock terrine feels like a rustic gastropub classic with salty chunks of ham topped with plenty of mustardy-sharp-piccalilli and a quails egg, intense and not shy of bold flavour. Spanner crab with avocado on a puffed cracker is a mouthful of vibrant and clean goodness which finds its saving grace by way of the textural wafer. The bite itself is very rich and a big old squeeze of lime would do wonders to balance the creaminess and freshen it up.

A couple of drinks almost always require the add-on of hand cut potato chips and the Banco version manages to pull off the rare feat of being both thick and starchy, yet with a very satisfying crunch. The addition of nomad seasoning (a piquant blend of sumac, thyme, corriander and mint) and spiced mayo are a real joy.

This is an eclectic and nostalgic menu that allows Webb’s love for the culinary heritage of his
homeland to take centre stage, where he skilfully weaves in elements from the contemporary Australian kitchen. And it’s always nice to find a menu that is unafraid to be different and lead you down a path less traveled.

Banco is a vibrant and progressive addition to the Manly scene, and if tonight is anything to
go by the locals seem to have taken to it like surfers to the nearby swell. Warm and
enthusiastic service is a highlight, with both bar manager Pino Montis and chef Webb
generous enough to guide us through their respective menus with gusto. The beverage
offering must be amongst the best in Manly; the kitchen fare is deliberately rich and rustic,
a love letter to the Great Britain. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.


Whistler Street
Opening hours:
Wed-Sun 5pm-late
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