When you think of Australian cuisine, I’m sure you can insert your own terrible Australian impression of something about shrimp on the barbie. But it’s not all shrimp and vegemite (although they do serve vegemite toast). As Executive Chef Ben Wood told me, Australia is as much of a melting pot as is America. The cuisine itself is inspired by the immigrants who came there, which makes it hard to pin down into one “style”. You can see this variety in the menu at Banksia Bakehouse (105 W 9th St, Kansas City, MO 64105) near the Downtown Library. The offerings encompass everything from Greek lamb pies to Italian baguettes to vegemite toast. In fact, if you’re itching for a trip abroad, I recommend stopping by the bakery to tide you over.
If you want to get technical about it, a decent part of the (extensive) menu at Banksia has Australian influences, like the lamb rolls, the super sweet pastries, and part of the breakfast menu. As Chef Wood explained, lamb dominates a lot of Australian food because it’s rare (pun intended) to find beef in that region. However at Banksia, you can find pies and rolls with vegetables, lamb, beef, pork, chicken, and kangaroo.
Sugary sweet is a clearly a common theme among Banksia’s pastry menu (and Australian bakery culture): after all, they are the culture that invented putting sprinkles on white bread. On the breakfast menu, the thick and fluffy Ricotta Hotcakes (which I devoured instantly) are topped with crunchy honeycomb compound butter, instead of the syrup Americans typically use. After your first bite, you’ll be saying “maple syrup, who?”
Between breakfast, lunch, pastries, pizza, fresh-baked bread, and coffee, Banksia Bakehouse does it all, and they do it all in-house. Every pie crust, every pastry, every meat pie and every hotcake is made from scratch by the friendly, welcoming team who let me invade their kitchen one morning for these photos. So next time you’re in the neighborhood, hop over to this cozy spot and try something new.