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Husband and wife team Stuart and Cecilia Gillies opened Bank House Wine Bar and Kitchen in their home town of Chislehurst, Kent. The independent bar and kitchen will specialise in serving a weekly-changing menu of modern European plates alongside a dynamic wine list.
Housed in a former brownstone Victorian bank on Chislehurst High Street, the site has been restored in its entirety and converted into a space which spans two floors. Upon entering the ground floor bar and dining area, you'll be greeted by a large showpiece hardwood and aged coppertop bar which runs the length of the downstairs wall. Upstairs is a cosy cocktail bar, with sash windows, contemporary fireplace and exposed oak beams, serving a short menu of wines, Champagnes and mixed drinks based around seasonal flavours.
When visiting the ground floor bar and dining area you can take your pick from a curated list of wines and cocktails. Assembled by Angelika Oparczyk who has 15 years working alongside Stuart at Gordon Ramsay Group, her wine list features a growing selection of both natural and English wines alongside traditional selections available both by the bottle and on tap. Angelika has also dedicated a section to showcasing dynamic young winemakers from across the continent including Vina Ilusion from Rioja, Spain and Les Vignerons d'Estezargues collective from the Rhone Valley, France.
Head chef Bobby Brown, previously of Bread Street Kitchen and The Kentish Hare will use artisan produce and locally sourced ingredients from surrounding farms to create his opening menu. Highlights include Grilled scallops, black butter & garlic; Crab salad, brown crab dressing & pickled cucumber; and Fried Buttermilk chicken, Habanero and lime salsa.
Interiors, designed by local practice Nugget Design, showcase the original features of the building, alongside contemporary fittings. Generous soft furnishings are compiled of a blend of warm textures and colours, against a backdrop of smoked oak parquet floors and original brickwork, contributing to an informal and homely atmosphere.
The new opening marks a change of pace for Stuart, who brings three decades of experience working across top restaurants including Daniel NYC, The Lord Byron Italy, and Le Caprice London, most recently as CEO of Gordon Ramsay Group. Cecilia will support with her wealth of experience as front-of-house, opening restaurants such as Quo Vadis and Marco Pierre White's Criterion. Stuart and Cecilia have designed Bank House Wine Bar and Kitchen to focus on sustainability and community, driven by an artisanal, family-run mindset. The restaurant and bar will prioritise the hiring, training and mentoring of local staff, and once fully open will aim to source a majority of their produce from local suppliers.
"There is an excitement and thrill to creating something locally which does not currently exist on our high street. I've always loved the world of hospitality and restaurants, so it's long been a dream to be able to bring that experience and energy into our own community, where Cecilia and I have raised our four boys. Socialising and going out is embraced so much more now than when I grew up, and we're very much looking forward to bringing something new and different to the area." Stuart says of the project.
Check out www.bankhousechislehurst.com