GLASCHU will offer modern-Scottish fine dining in the heart of city centre from the end of the month.

Launching on the premises of The Western Club, the new bar and restaurant will occupy an enigmatic dining room.

Prominent, sitting as it does overlooking Royal Exchange Square, yet concealed behind the veneer of the private members club that has been here since 1825. It’s perhaps been overlooked in the past.

“We feel like we have a sleeping giant,” says general manager Scott McLean. This will change.

Owner Andy McCartney points to the windows, “There will be neon letters in each of these spelling out our name, it might have been invisible before when you were walking by but hopefully you’ll be able to see us from space when we’re done,” he laughs.

“Part of the challenge is to make sure that people know that the restaurant is accessible to everyone,” he adds.

I joined Scott and Andy in the restaurant as they prepared for the changes ahead.

READ MORE: New fine dining Glasgow restaurant Glaschu to open

Alongside removing the cloak of secrecy around the venue – you don’t have to be a member of the club to dine here – the new concept involves allowing head chef Dion Scott to create a menu that draws on local and Scottish produce.

He aims to surprise diners and to reinvent some local classics. Dion honed his skills in Heston Blumenthal’s kitchens and was previously Head Chef at one of London’s finest French restaurants Racine. Closer to home, he was Head Chef at The Spanish Butcher.

How important is it to find the right person to lead the kitchen? “It’s huge. Crucial. He’s creating the engine room of the business. His attention to detail is phenomenal. His techniques and level of work. It’s going to set the bar very high,” Andy says.

He’ll have support from Scott’s front of house staff, “The team we have recruited are very professional, they’ll know the menus, they have personality and we’ll just let them be themselves and look to help create a relaxed atmosphere in the place”.

Andy took over the restaurant in September, with Scott joining in the last month – he had previous been at Gleneagles, Grand Central Hotel, One Devonshire Gardens and The Rusacks in St Andrews.

It’s a 30-year lease on the restaurant, so this is the start of a new dining destination in the centre of town.

“It needs to be something that’s going to be here for a long time. There’s not that many fine dining restaurants in the city centre when you think about it. We are laying down a marker. Places like The Ivy and the Anchor Line are appealing to a slightly younger clientele than the traditional customer base that is here already and we want to be competing too.

“So there will be brunch starting from 10am, a tasting menu starting and Sunday roast introduced. We will bring other dimensions to the restaurant.”

Both explain what changes we can expect before the big reveal of Glaschu. There will be an outside seating area with heaters. The bar area is being redesigned to be more accessible, with a cocktail menu named after famous Glaswegians. Beef Wellington will be a signature dish as a nod to the nearby statue.

Gigha halibut and Loch Tay trout will be sourced from fish-monger Bernard Corrigan, while Finnieston’s Stuart Wilson will bring crustaceans and oysters to the table. Local expert David Prow is putting together a seasonal prestige menu of Bibendum wines to go with the a la carte menu.

Terri Hawkins, of independent florist Flowers Vermillion, is going to dress the dining room with dried flowers to add colour. Glaschu will also be the only place in Glasgow, apart from the brewery, to have the full Tennent’s Export range available at the bar. The official launch is March 26.