Design Focus: The Grove
It’s a case of two becomes one for R Group restaurant and bar owners Rahul and Pravesh – A.K.A Bubbles – Randev, who have completely transformed their Lenzie premises Carriages Bar and Irrocco into one stylish new venue, The Grove Bistro Bar and Bakery. The pair’s £1m investment in their extensive refurbishment on Millersneuk Road, which has taken around one year to complete, has certainly paid off.
The result is a large, luxurious and comfortable restaurant, bar and bakery complete with an additional rooftop terrace which will be finished next summer. The refreshed frontage is an inviting mix of white walls and light timber cladding that unites both the restaurant and bar as The Grove. Several stone steps lead to the bar’s entrance on the left, which is flanked by two small, conical trees. While the interior of the old Carriages may be unrecognisable to its loyal clientele, gold Rennie Mackintosh-style lettering on the glass door that reads “The Carriages Bar, Est. 1993” is a reminder of the popular pub Rahul and Bubbles have run here for 23 years. “We always felt that Carriages was too big as a pub and Irrocco was too small as a restaurant so it made sense to knock them into one.
It’s taken a long time to do but we’re really pleased with the result,” says Rahul. The overall design is contemporary but classic with some art deco touches that give the place a slight vintage feel. The new colour scheme is a mix of purple, white and deep duck shell blue. Oak panelling with a grey tinge is used on the walls throughout. Rahul and Bubbles worked with Adam McClure and David Logan from Bearsden-based interior designers, Cunningham McLean Ltd and had a lot of input into the design. A key inspiration has been their Milngavie restaurant Garvie & Co. Rahul explains, “We’ve drawn a lot of the design elements from Garvie & Co, such as the desert and pastry counter, the use of wood panelling and in the bar we chose a slightly darker shade of duck egg blue that we used there.
We want our patrons to be able to tell from the look and feel of the place that it’s one of our group.” The first thing you see when entering the bar area is the large, square bar itself which looks both classic and a little industrial, thanks to its stone coloured marble top, long curved copper beer taps and the dark grey metal gantry that frames the whole thing up to the ceiling. Sections of the gantry are fronted with amber glass panels which have a smoky, marbled effect, and brass rails line several shelves to keep the bottles in place, all adding to that vintage feel. A wide strip of black, grey and white tiles lines the floor around the bar in an eye-catching diamond design.
A mix of high and low banquette seating and tables line the walls at the front and left-hand side. In the middle sits a long, high table with a gleaming brass top that reflects the copper light fittings hanging above. “The biggest thing for us is that we love the use of brass and copper and plain metals, so it’s nice to have that contrast throughout,” notes Rahul. The bar is still distinct from the restaurant thanks to a sliding glass and wood panelled ‘bookcase’ door which Rahul is particularly proud of. “That was my idea,” he says. “It means that even though it’s one big space, it can be separated if needed. I wanted it to look a bit like a bookcase and I love that you can see all the way through to the bar and bakery counter on the other side of the restaurant.” Rahul points to the furthest part of the restaurant which has a second entrance of two large glass doors set in a wall of front-facing windows.
This area is light and bright thanks to the abundance of windows, mirrors and reflective bar and table tops. The ceiling has also been raised to make it more spacious. The restaurant seats around 100 and is split into two sections with one level slightly lower than the other as The Grove is built on a slope. The colour scheme changes to purple and white and the floor throughout is a mixture of cream tiles, purple carpets and more Herringbone patterned oak flooring. The main feature in the far-right section is a magnificent white marble restaurant bar with a glass dessert and cake counter built into one end, and a similar style gantry to the one in the bar.
The adjacent seated area has a mix of brass, marble and oak-topped tables with chairs upholstered in green and purple. The back section has two rows of cream half booths with white marble tables which shimmer in the light cascading from a new triangular skylight. A bronze mirror with diamond patterning is cleverly angled on the left-hand wall to create even more light and the area is flanked by circular white booths with brass table tops. A large but inconspicuous lift has been installed in the corner to take customers up to the rooftop terrace and can be accessed on both levels of the restaurant. Rahul says, “We’re excited about the roof terrace which will have its own bar and additional seating. We should have it up-and-running by next summer so we can get the most of those limited sunny spells!”
A small set of wooden stairs to the right of the lift leads to another second cosy section which boasts six oval tables with curved, cream banquette seating and chairs upholstered in plush purple and mocha coloured velvet. The Grove’s large, column-shaped pizza oven, which is clad in small square golden tiles and was shipped from America, is another stunning feature here. It is visible through a serving hatch in the restaurant’s back wall, which has white marble facing and is framed with the same metal shelves used on both bars. Rahul says of the overall design, “We didn’t want it to feel too fancy, like a fine dining restaurant.
We’re in the suburbs so want to focus on mid-week dining and cater to people who might not want to cook in the house but will come down to a local place for a bowl of pasta or pizza. That’s reflected in the menu, which we’ve kept simple. It has an Italian and Mediterranean influence with lots of pastas, pizza and sharing platters but some specials too.” Like their other venues across Bishopbriggs, Lenzie, Bearsden and Milngavie, Rahul and Bubbles are determined to establish The Grove as an important part of the local community.
One of their favourite design features reflects this. They commissioned photographer Martin Gray to take black and white photos of well-known places and faces across Lenzie. These are grouped on the walls throughout the Grove and are sure to be a real talking point for customers. Rahul adds, “We asked Martin to take photos of famous streets and landmarks in Lenzie and people that own local businesses, like the chip shop owner, dentist, optician and the lady who owns the hairdressers.
We’ve tried to create this sense of community and that this place belongs to the people here, which is important to us. We’re looking forward to people coming down to see their photos up on the famous wall. There’s a few surprises there for people too!” Much like The Grove itself, we’re sure the surprise will be a very enjoyable and welcome one.