This time last week me and my partner were midway through one of the greatest weekends in a long time. We attended the relaunch party of the Banyan Bar and Kitchen – Harrogate.
Arc Inspirations are a multi-brand bar and restaurant operator who have 16 bar and restaurant venues across the North of England, these are made up of 9 brands. One of those brands being Banyan Bar and Kitchen.
Banyan Bar and Kitchen currently have three different branches based in York, Manchester and Harrogate with a fourth to be opened in Leeds, April 2016.
With the Harrogate site originally opening in 2006 and loved by so many local people, the team at Arc Inspirations thought what a great time on its 10th anniversary would it be to rejuvenate and refresh the bar, with a stylish new look and menu to deliver back to the town.
So on Friday 29th January 2016 the relaunch party took place and boy did they set out to impress!
The new look was stylish, sophisticated and gave a fresh feel about the place. The attention to detail, from the many light fixtures around the room, to the bottles strategically placed on shelves around the ceilings gave it a quirky edge to be appreciated by customers. Not to mention the stunning layout of the new bar area…
They also have the addition of live acoustic music taking place every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The relaunch night singer was particularly special though – not only because of his amazing voice and guitar skills but because he was a former bar tender for Arc Inspirations when he was a student. Rupert Stroud was asked by the managing director himself, Martin Wolstencroft to entertain for the party, and has previously had air play on BBC radio 2 and had the privelidge of supporting Texas last year.
With the room filling up and the music being adored by many the night was quickly becoming the talk of the town.
However, none of this could of been done without the fantastic waitresses taking orders from the VIP booths, chefs behind the scenes creating fantastic food platters and the prompt and friendly staff working behind the bar. With food samples being passed around the extremely busy room and cocktails being made and poured to perfection, the staff are a huge credit to the Banyan Bar and Kitchen and went out of their way to make sure we, along with the other customers had everything we needed and were ok.
It was a pleasure just to sit back and relax on the night and watch the atmosphere. Everybody full of smiles, laughing, joking, dancing – exactly how you would want a bar to be if it was your own.
With the night being truly stunning and service faultless, we thought we had better head back to the hotel and call it an early night, as we were eagerly anticipating our visit the next day for lunch.
We spent the next morning doing a bit of shopping around Harrogate and had a walk around the picturesque town. The Bar and Kitchen is in a prime location on John Street which means there are plenty of places to park and it’s right in the middle of town so there’s lots of places and things to see surrounding it.
When we arrived at Banyan for lunch it was incredible to see the change in atmosphere. Everybody still happy and socialising but in a much more mellow and chilled environment. With it being child friendly, it was lovely to see the families coming together for lunch, coffee and special occasions, which is exactly what the team were aiming for.
Banyan Bar and Kitchen actually gets its name from an Indonesian meeting place called the Banyan tree. This is where people can socialise, meet different people, all generations are welcome and that is exactly what we were viewing from our table.
Everybody I had spoken to including the locals, taxi drivers and hotel staff had said that the bar and kitchen was renowned for its high quality food and array of cocktails to choose from. They were right!
For starters, I had the “crispy duck spring rolls” and my husband had the “chicken satay skewers“.
The duck spring rolls were accompanied by an oriental dipping sauce which was sweet but had a quick sharp kick to it that complimented the rolls perfectly. The rolls were so thin but crunchy and the duck was flawless.
My partner was too, impressed with his choice. The chicken was cooked beautifully and the peanut crème fraiche on the side was out of this world. A bizarre combination to think up but with the sweet chilli sauce that topped the chicken it made for an excellent dish.
That brings me to our mains…
“King prawn & crab risotto” was like heaven on a plate. If I could only choose one dish to eat for the rest of my life this would be it. The crab and king prawns just melted in the mouth and the standard to which they were cooked was outstanding. The hint of lemon, parsley butter, chilli and coriander created a tasty marinade for the meat.
My partner being a steak man chose to have a rump steak. This was served with house fries, onion rings and a choice of peppercorn or béarnaise sauce – he opted for peppercorn.
As a guy who loves steak and has it everywhere he goes, I’m sure people can appreciate how good this must have tasted when he said to the manager that “it was the best rump steak he’s ever had in his life” and if he could thank the chef.
However, I think I was even more surprised at the fact that he finished all of his dessert. My partner never has dessert as a general rule. He doesn’t really have a sweet tooth but joined me in choosing a sweet. He wanted to try the bakewell tart served with raspberry ripple icecream, and I was astonished to hear that he would’ve eaten it again.
Me on the other hand, I love my chocolate fix and was pleased to see that my favourite was on the new menu – warm triple chocolate brownie. This was served with an pleasently unusual choice of honeycomb icecream. The whole thing went down a treat and the velvety, warm chocolate was mouthwatering to say the least.
All washed down with my favourite cocktail of the whole two days, Pistachio espresso martini. A great way to end a meal made with reyka vodka, tia Maria, coffee liquer and real espresso, it’s the ultimate pick me up after eating some impeccable food.
Whether your out for fine dining, a weekend away, a family occasion or a night out with friends / work colleagues, with the older generation or with your new born, Banyan Bar and Kitchen is the place to be.
We would like to say a massive thank you to all the staff at Banyan Bar and Kitchen – Harrogate for their exceptional service and a huge well done to all at Arc Inspirations for the relaunch and on their continued success for such friendly but stunning venues across the North of England!
Annie Reed – Beauty By Trial ❤