Ashton Lane is important to the West End. It’s the focal point of a lot of the area’s weekend energy, but there was a suspicion that some of its vibrancy has ebbed and flowed away to other nearby corners with the arrival of upstart hangouts demanding attention.
The perennial favourites are still there – Brel upgraded their bar and beer garden over the summer, Jinty’s and The Chip are immune to the passage of time (in a good way) – and they’ve received reinforcements in recent months with the arrival of Dixie Chick at Vodka Wodka and the Innis & Gunn Beer Kitchen appearing earlier this year.
Opening this weekend as part of the Grosvenor complex, in the space formerly known as The Lane, The Gardener is slick, ambitious and bang-on-trend.
Expect a bright, crisply designed bar and dining room, botanically inspired cocktails, freshly brewed coffee, small plates and a soulful soundtrack. True to the name, there will be some greenery, with foliage forming part of the backdrop, appearing along walls and across bold art prints.
The cocktail list will be a rotating feast of seasonal flavours, spiked with ingredients like beetroot shrub, grapefruit and rosemary tonic.
For food, look for small plates, sharing platters and a robust selection of brunch items. Cakes are by Seb & Milli.
Bar snacks include steamed buns, flatbreads, toasted brioche, plus interesting dishes like panko wasabi crusted coley & fries or smoked chicken, pecan salad, apple and yoghurt dressing.
Vegetarian plates include loaded BBQ jackfruit nachos, avocado and jalapenos or sweet potato & chickpea tagine with orange cous cous.
Private dining can be arranged in the quirky Plant Room, which will be used for monthly Meet the Producer events connecting with Scotlands food and drink community.
Keen to carve their own niche on Ashton Lane, The Gardener opens tomorrow.