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Local lovely, Bank House Chislehurst

Local lovely, The Bank Chislehurst: Image 1 Chislehurst’s Bank House Wine Bar and Kitchen opened in September 2019, with husband and wife team Stuart and Cecilia Gillies at the helm. Housed in a former Victorian brownstone bank on Chislehurst High Street, this independent bar and kitchen specialises in serving a weekly-changing menu of modern European plates, beautifully complemented by a dynamic wine list. The space has been converted over two floors, with the upstairs boasting a cosy cocktail bar, sash windows, contemporary fireplace and exposed oak beams. It can also play host to intimate wedding receptions for 50 guests. 

I was lucky enough to be invited to sample the food and ambience at Bank House, and ducked through the doors on a chilly December evening, to be warmly welcomed by Stuart himself. The first thing I noticed as I was shown to my table was the lively atmosphere. It’s a buzzing restaurant, with an informality that belies it’s high-quality dining experience. 

There’s a curated list of wines and cocktails on offer, all assembled by Angelika Oparczyk who has 15 years of experience working alongside Stuart at Gordon Ramsay Group. Her wine list features a growing selection of both natural and English wines, alongside some traditional selections, as well as showcasing young winemakers from the continent. I chose a glass of Riesling, fabulously named: Kung Fu Girl (Charles Smith, Washington, USA 2017).

Making selections from the tapas-style menu was no easy task, as everything sounded so delicious. Head chef Bobby Brown uses artisan produce and locally sourced ingredients from surrounding farms to create his menus. Eventually, I opted for the goat’s cheese, and toasted walnuts, with chestnut honey; baked crab gratin with crostini and parmesan; and 36-day aged fillet with shallots, thyme and red wine. Of course, I couldn’t do without sampling the side orders too, so I added the mini roast potatoes with garlic mayo and chicken salt to my order. 

The plates were delivered hot as and when they were ready so the meal felt like it had a nice leisurely pace to it. They were all well sized, so that you felt as though you were enjoying a good meal, whilst getting the chance to sample a good range of the delicious dishes on offer. Everything was a joy to demolish. Desert was a flourless chocolate cake with Chantilly cream, which went down a treat with my sweet tooth. 

It’s great to see that Stuart and Cecilia have designed Bank House with a focus on sustainability and community, with a family-run mindset. Their aim, which is admirable, is to prioritise the hiring, training and mentoring of local staff, as well as to source the majority of their produce from Kent suppliers. The restaurant is a real champion of the county we love so much, and if you’re looking for your next date-night spot, or an intimate wedding reception venue, you’d do very well to check out Bank House Wine Bar and Kitchen. 

Although Bank House is currently closed due to the current situation, keep an eye on their website and social media channels for reopening dates - www.bankhousechislehurst.com

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