Bank House Wine Bar and Kitchen
Husband and wife team Stuart and Cecilia Gillies have opened Bank House Wine Bar and Kitchen in their home town Chislehurst, Kent. Opened in September, the independent bar and kitchen specialises in serving a weekly-changing menu of modern European plates alongside a dynamic wine list.
Housed in an Edwardian red brick former bank on Chislehurst High Street, the site has been restored in its entirety and converted into a space which spans three floors. Upon entering the ground floor bar and dining area, guests are 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.
Visitors to the ground floor bar and dining area can take their pick from a curated list of wines and cocktails. Assembled by Angelika Oparcyzk, 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.
Interiors and branding, designed by local multidisciplinary creative agency 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.
Speaking to PREMIER HOSPTIALITY MAGAZINE about the design aspects of the project, Ari Phillips of Nugget Design said: “We worked with the client team every step of the way, from initial concepts and floor plans through to implementation. It was important to spend time at the start to establish the brief, to understand their aims and aspirations for the project. They wanted to introduce a unique local offer and we needed to create a thoughtful, stylish, warm space; an elegant interior that would be as welcoming as your own home; a place to enjoy sharing good food and drink in comfort. Attention to detail throughout for textures, materials and finishes was crucial to achieving this as well as working with light level specialists, into lighting.
“The property’s appeal is as a key historic building on the high street and long service in the community as a bank, so we tried to retain as many of the existing features as possible and keep a natural look for new aspects. We stripped the interior right back, exposed beams and joists, retained the steel and protected a lot of the original brickwork. We have brought in materials like Clayworks, which is natural raw plaster for the walls; this gives a softer, imperfect finish to balance the new wooden panelling.
“For the brand mark and signage, we used the shape and copper metal of coins, as well as referencing the dial of a bank vault. We carried tonal metals across the building, from the feature bespoke aged copper bar top to the fixtures, including the lighting, choosing simple profiles as well as designing bespoke feature lights to go with the ground floor main dining area.
“We also decided to make a more significant change and relocate the toilets from the first floor to the basement. Although this made for a far more intensive build process, it transformed the potential of the space and opportunities for the new business, increasing the number of covers with the addition of an upstairs bar.
“To reflect the locality we selected a feature wallpaper from Woodchip & Magnolia and wrapped the entire stair wall. We created a bespoke version, working with them to add ducks, geese and other creatures – bringing Chislehurst’s ponds, green spaces and wildlife inside.”
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 and most recently as CEO of Gordon Ramsay Group. Cecilia supports 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 mind-set. The restaurant and bar will prioritise the hiring, training and mentoring of local staff, and also aims 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 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,” said Stuart.
Ari added: “This has been a super project and working with Stuart and Cecilia has been great. Nugget Design has worked on a variety of retail and hospitality projects but Stuart is well known in the F&B industry and therefore it was extremely important to get it right. It has also been nice to create something for our community because Bank House is pretty much on our doorstep. We have loved helping restore life to this fantastic building in the high street, and helping our clients’ realise their exciting vision.”
Woodchip & Magnolia
Woodchip & Magnolia specialises in the manufacture of wallpaper and fabrics. In operation for three years, the company combines a passion for all things colour and pattern with expert technical experience in manufacturing.
For the Bank House Wine Bar & Kitchen, in Chislehurst project, it created a seamless bespoke wall covering for the stairwell and restrooms and personalised the mural by incorporating local birds and wildlife into the design.
Woodchip & Magnolia director, Paul Tarnowski, said:
“We designed a bespoke version of our Zephyr wall mural, taking into account the location of the establishment and the surrounding local birds and animals of the area and using them within the mural.
“It was also a complicated area to design as it was three walls in a stairwell, which had to work as a seamless continuous mural, a technically challenging installation if ever there was one!
“We take pride in our customer service and relationship with our clients. We carefully listen to their requirements and then aim to meet and exceed their expectations. We are passionate about what we do and we pride ourselves on our technical know-how with strong design and colour aesthetic.”
AFE Contracts & Carpenters Ltd
AFE Contracts & Carpenters Ltd specialises in every aspect of building work, both commercial and residential. It has partnered with homeowners, designers and architects to deliver high quality renovations, refurbishments and new build services across London and the South East.
Over the years, the company has grown immensely. From a carpentry and joinery background, AFE boasts a team of dedicated workers and sub-contractors who are passionate, talented and recognised for expertise, professionalism and attention to detail.
The company has been involved with a number of high-profile projects during its 9 years in operation, including a complete reception remodelling project for a multimillion-pound company and fitting out a world-famous tailor on Saville Row, London.
More recently, AFE was chosen as the main contractor for the transformation of Bank House Wine Bar and Kitchen. This involved carrying out the initial complete strip out and structural work, the new basement conversion and fitting out of the restaurant/bar areas and toilets.
Luke Berwick, AFE Contracts & Carpenters Ltd, said:
“When given the chance to work alongside Nugget Design and take on the Bank House project we jumped at the opportunity. From the very start we worked closely with Nugget and the owners to bring their vision to life.”
To find out more, please visit www.afecontracts.co.uk.