WE’RE in Gather, sipping rhubarb cocktails.

The rhubarb cordial that forms its base captures the elusive essence of the Yorkshire-grown pink fruit- it’s expertly made here on the premises by a talented ‘mixologist’ who really earns that over-used, hackneyed title. Normally we’d skip nibbles and canapés, but I can’t decline the offer of ‘sage and olive fritters’, which turn out to fulfill all my hopes for those enticing words, or the mellow salt hake brandade, napped with olive oily chopped capers, then spread on impeccably brittle toasts.

Normally I skip the bar and head straight for the table, but this is a space where you want to linger. Its calmness, if not its dimensions, reminds me of the soothing expanses at Timberyard in Edinburgh, that cool, modern, bleached by the elements Scandinavian vibe. Greys, from charcoal to pearl, form the basis of a monochrome decorative scheme. The actual bar is a curved line of beaten zinc. Rams horns mounted on walls add to that scrubbed, naturalistic, Northern European feel. Lights glow from alabaster-like shades. The ground floor back wall has been opened up to offer a vista of the back green: the mezzanine level also feels more open that before, yet still intimate. Although I know these premises well having followed their earlier transformation from deli to café, somehow this latest enterprise from the evergreen Zique stable allows me to appreciate properly for the first time just how stunning the red sandstone tenements across the road really are: Glasgow architecture at its enduring Victorian best.

So this is fine dining, but of the contemporary sort, not the old up-tight stuffy kind, and the man in charge of the kitchen has a CV that’s up to the job, having worked at top-drawer London restaurants: Nopi, Nobu, Locanda Locatelli, Bocca di Lupo. Mhairi Taylor’s restaurants always feel welcoming and relaxed, but this is serious cooking based upon a central organising principle of seasonality.

Goat’s curd gnocchi set the bar high. Sharp fresh cheesiness cuts through the potato, they’re slightly crusty on the outside, with an appealing hint of elasticity within, doused in lemon and caper butter, strewn with crisp sage leaves, under a nest of curls whose soft, un-bossy freshness suggests Pecorino Romano. The same careful calibration of diverse elements shows with the langoustine and sea bream arancino. Firm, glossy rice happily plays second fiddle as the crustacean occupies the foreground, while an aioli yellow-green with extra virgin olive oil, and feather-thin marinated fennel shavings, add grassy, anise notes.

I can imagine Giorgio Locatelli enthusing over this rabbit, positively drooling over how it sits on its creamy polenta throne, the prime cuts roased inside thin cured ham, the liver and kidney skewered, the bland richness offset by a punchy salsa verde. And you wouldn’t have to be vegetarian to be blown away by the no-meat option of Puy lentils, still firm, flavoured with a classic Italian sofrito (softly sweated carrot, celery, onion) then topped with quartered, deep fried hearts of tender Spring artichokes, stalk attached, sour-sweet Belgian chicory braised in lemon, fried purple sprouting broccoli, all spiked with minty dressing and tempered by blobs of mascarpone. We most certainly don’t need the Jansson’s temptation- a creamy potato gratin suffused by molten anchovies- but I wouldn’t miss this for anything.

Happily dessert doesn't weigh us down. A languid pistachio semifreddo veined with blood orange pulp apes the look of a childhood Walls Neapolitan. A scoop of chocolate ganache, faintly tasting of espresso, and as smooth as suede, covered with mace syrup and flaked almond brittle, showcases the natural affinity of chocolate, nuts, and spice.

It’s not as if Glasgow’s West End is short of restaurants, but there hasn’t, until now, been one with an atmosphere, an environment, that ticks what I’ll call for want of better words, the casual-modern fine dining box. One Devonshire Gardens was always the West End’s swanky dining spot, but its Victorian architecture imposes a certain Old School formality. Gather by Zique finally ticks the box.