It's been nine months since Hamersley's Bistro served its last, iconic chicken dinner and closed its doors. Shortly thereafter, The Gallows Group (The Gallows, Blackbird Doughnuts) announced they were bringing a new concept to the space.
This past weekend, the South End welcomed Banyan Bar + Refuge and executive chef Phil Tang, formerly of East by Northeast.
There's no sign hung yet to mark the newly-minted space, but there is a spacious, street-side patio out front. The entryway is grand, comforting, and inviting, with a bright and artistic light structure. Up the stairs reveals a host stand and the choice to turn right or left.
A right turn leads into an intimate room full of bright light from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Grassy green leather chairs and banquettes surround the soft, hickory-topped tables. A large, bright, wooden dragon brings color and light to the room, as do the tree branches that spread out from the light fixtures on the ceiling.
Moving past the host station and walking to the left, one finds him or herself at the bar. It's roomy and spacious, with bottles lining a wall backlit by windows, bringing an airiness to it all. Golden statues rest on some of the bar shelves, a nod to the Asian influence in the kitchen. Tree branches hang from above, giving the room a relaxing vibe. Just past the bar and almost into the dining room, two large booths sit comfortably along the wall and under a colorful, three-piece, framed collage.
The dining room is grand and forces the eye upward to look at dramatically-placed branches that hang from nest-shaped light structures. There are banquettes that cover the length of the wall to the left, and high-top tables that surround the busy, open, and airy kitchen. At the kitchen counters, six navy blue leather seats with colorful, tiger-print backings will eventually be a spot for diners to enjoy watching a chef's whim.
Along the back wall, just to the right, birch trees give the entire restaurant the feeling that one is dining in the natural comforts of the woods. More tables and chairs sit just along the back wall, opposite the large windows that overlook the busy street and allow gorgeous, natural light to pour in while diners sit under the shade of the tree branches and relax with a cocktail or something from the expansive menu.