Tonight is the official launch of a new Glasgow restaurant.
Before you turn the page, hang on. This is an opening of special significance - and not only because the chef's wife is the actor Daniela Nardini.
The Gannet is another high-profile milestone in the culinary rebirth of the Finnieston quarter of Argyle Street, an area of Glasgow that for years was known mostly for its greasy spoons and general grunginess until John MacLeod opened his Crabshakk seafood restaurant in 2009. He kickstarted the current revival by showing how it is possible for independent restaurateurs and private enterprise to combine to transform a previously run-down area.
That success led to a vibrant eating-out scene; one that was authentic and rooted in a sense of place. It also has lessons for towns and cities across Scotland.
In Finnieston, late 19th-century retail units have been restored to their former glory to showcase original windows, gold-leaf frontages, ornate cornicing and blonde sandstone walls. The Finnieston Bar opened in 2011 as another funky seafood restaurant serving lesser-known species such as hake, gurnard, coley and black brill, and shellfish from the Western Isles.
The Kelvingrove Cafe - once a Victorian ice-cream parlour - entered the fray last year with its arty vibe and modern Scottish menu offering small plates, platters and dishes such as bream carpaccio with pink grapefruit. And the super-shiny Italian restaurant Panevino, run by the younger generation from Little Italy in Byres Road, offers scallops in anchovy butter, rabbit with polenta and, I'm told, the best spaghetti carbonara in town.
Opening soon, close to Crabshakk, is Old Salty's, an upmarket fish and chip cafe courtesy of Lawrence McManus of La Vallee Blanche in the west end and Epicures of Hyndland; and in Sauchiehall Street, parallel to Argyle Street, on the site of a former Greek taverna, will be Ox and Finch, a modern Scottish 80-cover restaurant owned by chef Jonathan MacDonald, founder of Scoop Events/Street Food Cartel and former chef with the McLaren F1 team. Among his signature dishes will be braised ox cheek with celeriac puree, shitake mushrooms and smoked Ayrshire bacon and thyme gremolata.
But back to The Gannet. Its chef-proprietors Ivan Stein and Peter McKenna also have form - they met while both were sous chefs at Michael Caines's ABode in the city centre. Stein, who married Nardini last year, has worked with Heston Blumenthal, Fergus Henderson, Martin Wishart and Tom Kitchin. This is the pair's first independent venture, and the short menu will include rare-breed pork from Clash Farm in Stranraer, bought in whole for in-house butchery and charcuterie, and Bute-reared venison.
Compare this frenzy of culinary energy with Byres Road in Glasgow's west end. From being the natural home of interesting and artisan food, it has now become one of the highest-rated streets in the UK outside London, which means start-up business ventures can no longer afford to make it their destination of choice.
The long-established Ubiquitous Chip has spawned the popular Hanoi Bike Shop, but elsewhere the culinary offer isn't what is was when Byres Road was in its heyday. Little wonder, when the rent and rates are said to be higher here for a small restaurant than they are for the 24-hour Tesco in Maryhill Road, a 15-minute walk away. Start-ups simply can't afford it. There are other changes, too. BBC Scotland has relocated to Govan, which is near Finnieston, and the Western Infirmary is earmarked for closure, to be overtaken by the new super-hospital at the Southern General.
Byres Road's once-boho vibe has morphed into a mini High Street which has been dubbed the new BBC (all banks, bookies and charity shops).
No surprise, then, that areas with lower rental and business rates are being revitalised with interesting new shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants. At Finnieston, there's also the lure of the imminent opening of the 12,000-seater Hydro arena.
MacDonald tells me he and his business partner Andy McQueen did look at premises on Byres Road, but would have had half the floor space for a "significantly higher" rent.
And Ivan Stein briefly considered the former Oddbins site on Byres Road, but found the rent far too high (rates are calculated according to rent). Anyway, he says, it's much better to be in a place where there's a bit of a buzz.
It's interesting to note that the new-look Finnieston hardly features any stand-alone bars, possibly because the rent and rates for a public house are even higher than for a restaurant. So don't expect to be able to order a drink from the bar of one of the new restaurants. More likely you'll be invited to sit at a table and order drinks and food. Who can complain about that, when it's in everyone's interest to keep the wolf from the door?
We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules, which are available here.
Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.