Stuart Gillies has announced plans to open a wine bar serving modern European small plates in Chislehurst, south London.
The former CEO of Gordon Ramsay's restaurant group, who left the business last year, told The Caterer: "I've lived in Chislehurst for years and it's never really had anything of London quality. People said to me for years while I was running Gordon's group ‘oh God if only we had something decent'. I'd never really stopped to look until I left last year, and I saw how much opportunity there was."
Bank House in the town's high street will be a three-storey venue, in a former brownstone bank complete with vaults, which will be used as a wine room.
The building has been stripped back to reveal original features and will offer a range of organic natural wines as well as a more traditional selection, alongside a variety of craft beers.
Chef Bobby Brown, formerly of the Kentish Hare and Ramsay's Bread Street Kitchen, has joined the project along with general manager and sommelier Angelika Oparczyk, both of who Gillies had worked with previously.
Brown will be serving a changing daily menu of small plates, which Gillies describes as "fresh, really high quality and really delicious".
It's planned that Bank House will open its doors in mid-July, with Gillies saying he is focused on the project but not ruling out further sites: "If we get one right in this location then of course it has the potential to grow because you've established an out-of-town success. I think we could go to a number of other similar locations all around the south east and south west, I've been amazed how much potential there is outside London."
"It's been fabulous, I wish I'd done it years ago. I had great years running the group for Gordon and achieved some amazing things but now working for myself, in our own company, with our own teams, creating our own success, it's so much fun."
Gillies had been appointed CEO of the Gordon Ramsay Restaurant Group in 2016, having held the position of managing director since 2011. He left the company last year.