javbank.com

Design Focus: Birdtree & Bellfish

October 4th, 2016 | Posted in: Editors' Picks

bb-sign3_optAll Glaswegians know the story about ‘The Tree, The Bird, The Fish and The Bell’, but how many know St.Mungo’s real name? Quirky questions like this are what the owners of the Lorne Hotel are banking on making its new restaurant The Birdtree & Bellfish a success.

The new 82 seater restaurant in the Finnieston hotel launched this month after a painful six months in development and an even longer time while a decision was made about what to do with the corner.
Owner Sohan Singh’s Bellhill took over the hotel in 2011, and the left wing part of the hotel was earmarked for development but wasn’t a key focus for the company. However, in February work started to develop 21 rooms, the bar and the restaurant in a £3.7 million refurbishment of the extension. The result is a homely restaurant that is, according to general manager Thom Murphy, supposed to ‘be like going to your grannies or your aunty’s house’.
When you enter the restaurant, you can see a distinct difference between it and the back room, which is referred to as The Snug. Despite being decorated in the same contrasting grey combination, the Snug feels warmer somehow, and Thom puts that down the fact the latter is carpeted while the main restaurant has wooden laminate flooring. He says, “We wanted the private room to have the feel of a family’s back room. Even the carpet looks a bit faded and threadbare, which scared the carpet fitter! He thought someone had spilt bleach on it!”
While the restaurant has ornamental talking points, the Snug has scarcely any decor apart from a shinty stick mounted on the left-hand wall and a stag’s head opposite. A stunning marble fireplace dominates the right hand wall, one of two discovered when renovations started. Thom says, “When you think that the building was built in 1853, over the years some beautiful architectural detail has been lost. When we knocked down some of the walls we discovered the fireplaces, which had been painted over.”
A large pale wooden table that seats eight is a big feature of the Snug. Thom says, “Another part of our design was that it should reflect what it would be like at a family house for Christmas or get togethers where there are hardly any seats and it’s all mismatched but still works.”
Two high-backed chairs flank the ‘family table’, and different chairs in a mixture of fabrics and leather coloured in cream, buff, olive green and blue are placed around it, and also around six teak-effect tables. Three of the tables – one seating four people and two for two – back onto a corner leather banquette furnished in dark brown leather. The ceilings throughout the restaurant, Snug and Kelvin Bar all have intricate cornice detailing, which involved some replication due to damage over the last century. The 21 bedrooms above the restaurant enjoy the same high ceilings, says Thom. “The main part of the hotel was created with the rooms in the same style you’d expect, but these rooms will be our classic and executive rooms and all benefit from the high ceilings and detail.”
A white panelled doorway leads into the light and airy main restaurant, which benefits from three single panel windows and a double panel window down its left-hand side. Chocolate brown leather banquette seating lines both corners, with seating for two single tables and a table for four. These tables are matched with another mix of fabric and leather-covered chairs, this time in yellow and blue hues. In the right corner, a large booth is made by creative placing of a two-seater couch, again in brown leather, giving a more casual feel than the Snug. Black and white hand-drawn pictures by Glaswegian artist Pearl Kinnear decorate the walls, with the largest showing an interpretation of the tree, the bird, the fish and the bell.
A high eight-seater table with bucket bar stools, which are covered in a chocolate brown leather, indicates the start of the restaurant area. The table is marked out by a brass ‘Glengoyne’ plate, which Thom reveals was a discovery from the first hotel to stand on the site – The Apsley Hotel. “When we started refurbishing all the rooms, we found brass plates with names of different distilleries that The Apsley used to indicate rooms so we’ve decided to resurrect them.”
img_0869Five three seater wingback couches covered in a cream fabric are arranged in a 2-1-2 formation, making up the left side of the restaurant. The solo couch is matched with a second pale wooden ‘family’ table, which Thom says is a feature for the restaurant. Thom says, “We want the restaurant to be somewhere you can come casually, or for an intimate meal or a family get-together.” The family table also has three chairs in purple and blue around it and on the walls behind, a gird and cleek hangs (a hoop and stick to non-Scots). On the wall beside the next table, there is a whip and peerie (an old-school spinning top toy) which, along with the display cabinets that mark the end of the restaurant, Thom hopes will prompt conversation among diners. He says, “We’ve tried to make the decoration similar to what you would see in any Glasgow home, so books and trinkets that will spark conversations.” On the opposite side, chocolate brown leather banquettes line the wall, separated by a wooden partition for privacy. Underneath wall-mounted chandelier-type lights, single dark wooden tables are arranged with blue and cream fabric-covered chairs and an air conditioning vent has been adapted as a display shelf with more chat-invoking whisky memorabilia.
The other addition is The Kelvin Bar. To the left as you come into the lobby, it is named after Lord Kelvin, of whom a striking portrait with a blue lit neon ‘Kelvin’ sign takes up an entire walls.
The bar was constructed from scratch, creating a traditional dark wood bar that wouldn’t look out of place in any Glasgow pub. Four dark wood backed bar stools with royal blue leather cushions surround the bar, and each of the high tables by the tall windows. Lower dark wooden tables gather around the other discovered fireplace, this time in black marble, and the banquette below the Kelvin portrait is in the same chocolate brown leather as the restaurant’s. Historical photographs are arranged on the mantelpiece and wall. The drink offering is eclectic, with The Kelvin being the first bar in Scotland to offer the entire Harviestoun Brewery range and Molson Coors created a white-label lager called Kentigern, which is the real name of St Mungo.
With such a rich heritage, it seems The Birdtree & Bellfish and The Kelvin Bar are happy to have a foot in both the past and the present with its nostalgic yet romantic take on Glaswegian hospitality.

The following two tabs change content below.

DRAM News Team

Editor at DRAM Magazine
DRAM magazine is Scotland’s leading monthly licensed trade magazine. It has been dedicated exclusively to the on-trade in Scotland for the past 23 years. It is independently owned, edited and published in Scotland. The DRAM is innovative, creative and original. First with the news, and the people in the news. Covering all the latest information on pubs, bars, clubs, restaurants and hotels in Scotland.


DUNNS UNVEIL FIRST CRAFT MARKETPLACE EVENT

Wed 11th October 2017

Dunns Food and Drinks is to host its first ever “Craft Marketplace” event for trade customers on Thursday 2nd November at the Dissecti... Read more.

Ian Macleod to revive Rosebank

Tue 10th October 2017

Ian Macleod Distillers has today (10 October) revealed plans to resurrect one of Scotland’s most cherished distilleries – Rosebank i... Read more.

Taco Bell to open in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street

Tue 10th October 2017

Mexican restaurant chain Taco Bell, working with The Adil Group, is planning to open its first Taco Bell in Scotland. It already has 18 in E... Read more.

Diageo to reopen Port Ellen and Brora Distilleries

Mon 9th October 2017

Diageo are investing £35 million in reopening two mothballed distilleries – Port Ellen on Islay and Brora in Sutherland. The company ... Read more.

Say “Aloha” to the Poke Bowl

Sat 7th October 2017

The latest street food trend has arrived in Edinburgh at Broughton Street venue Treacle, in the shape of Poke (pronounced poh-keh) a typical... Read more.

Round up – October 2017

Fri 6th October 2017

Last month Glenfiddich welcomed 350 members of the Scottish on-trade to its spiritual home of Dufftown for the inaugural Glenfiddich Festiv... Read more.

Excellent Result from JD Wetherspoon as they see Profit Increase

Fri 6th October 2017

JD Wetherspoon has revealed its preliminary results. Its full-year pre-tax profits rose from £80.6m to £102.8m this year, a 27.5% increase... Read more.

Tennent’s Annual Trade Shows

Fri 6th October 2017

Tennents trade shows for 2017 will take place on Monday 30 October at Hampden Park in Glasgow and Wednesday 1 November at BT Murrayfield Sta... Read more.

The Balvenie Peat Week Comes to Market

Thu 5th October 2017

The Balvenie has brought out The Balvenie Peat Week Aged 14 Years (2002 Vintage). The Balvenie Peat Week is the product of trials undertaken... Read more.

The Ivy on the Square is Unveiled

Thu 5th October 2017

The Ivy on the Square, Edinburgh,  is the first bar and restaurant to open in Scotland from The Ivy Collection. The Ivy on the Square can s... Read more.

Beauty of the Blend say Tullamore D.E.W

Thu 5th October 2017

Tullamore D.E.W., the William Grant & Sons owned Irish whiskey brand, is launching a through the line, global platform called ‘Beauty ... Read more.

Sue Says – October 2017

Wed 4th October 2017

Well I went to my very first festival last month – I have managed to miss T in the Park and even Rewind, but an invitation from Glenfiddi... Read more.

Hugo Mills Moves from Molson Coors to Sky

Wed 4th October 2017

MOLSON Coors has announced that Hugo Mills, Sales and Operations Director for Scotland is leaving the company to join SKY Business as their... Read more.

Limited edition Bottle for Sailor Jerry

Tue 3rd October 2017

William Grant & Sons has launched a new limited-edition bottle design for Sailor Jerry. This bottle is one in a series of limited-editio... Read more.

Gordon’s Now Comes in Pink!

Tue 3rd October 2017

There’s now a pink version of Gordon’s Gin which has been created to appeal to a “new, younger, adult audience.” say owners Diageo G... Read more.

Benromach Expands Portfolio

Tue 3rd October 2017

The Benromach Distillery Company Ltd has launched a first for the Forres distillery – Benromach Triple Distilled single malt. It is a ligh... Read more.

Finnieston Distillery Co Create Live Music Event

Mon 2nd October 2017

Finnieston Distillery Company (FDC), which recently launched its unique range of craft Scotch whisky cocktails, launched its new quarterly l... Read more.

Glenmorangie Creates Bicycles Made from Whisky Casks

Mon 2nd October 2017

Glenmorangie has formed an innovative collaboration with bicycle pioneer Renovo, to create limited edition bicycles made from the whisky’s... Read more.

Douglas Laing Unveils Big Peat’s Christmas 2017 Edition

Mon 2nd October 2017

Douglas Laing & Co has revealed Big Peat ‘s Christmas 2017 Limited Edition. The annual exclusive release is bottled at natural cas... Read more.

A Second Cask of Single Malt from Strathearn

Sun 1st October 2017

One of Scotland’s smallest whisky distilleries, Strathearn, has launched its second batch of Single Cask Whisky – Cask 028 and Cask 044,... Read more.