The Botanist on Temple Street has been one of the city’s most popular hot-spots for food and cocktails since it opened back in 2015. With its plant themed drinks and extensive menu that spans across many cuisines, the Botanist tends to be a real crowd pleaser for mid-range relaxed dining. Though I’ve long been a fan of the drinks, it had been a while since I had eaten at the Botanist, so when I was invited down to try the food I was really looking forward to seeing what is now on offer. Read on to find out if the kitchen at the Botanist meets the standard of the bar.
The decor in the restaurant conjures a traditional English garden appeal, with a glass roof in the main bar area that brings the outdoors in. The seating is informal and social, with long bench tables and high stools in many cases. Our service throughout the evening ticked all the boxes, with friendly, attentive servers who were happy to talk about the menu and who made sure each course was going down well. We visited just after work on a week-day, so the dining area was very quiet at the start of our meal, but by the time we had finished we were in a completely packed restaurant that had a real buzz.
We started off with a couple of cocktails and some large, fresh olives. Jack ordered the cinnamon and oregano Old Fashioned, and although he felt the oregano didn’t particularly come through all that much, it was still a great take on the classic. I couldn’t resist ordering one of my favourites from the drinks menu, the English Mojito, made with gin rather than rum and lengthened with apple juice. The drink really is summer in a glass, and I would recommend it to any gin lover out there. Later on I also had their homemade lemonade, which I asked to be made tangy but with a little sweetness to take the edge off. What I was served was bang on – a really fresh, invigorating option for those not drinking.
We then shared a couple of starters. Firstly, the homemade houmous, served in a gardening trowel with vegetable crudites and bread. The presentation really worked for this dish, and really added to the botanical theme and earthy style of the starter. The houmous was thick and delicious and the bread was soft and perfect for dipping. We also ordered the sesame coated falafel on a bed of sweet chilli slaw. Again, another simple veggie dish but executed really well – we enjoyed the slaw so much that we had to order it as a side with our mains.
For his main, Jack opted for the one of the Botanist’s trade marked (?!) hanging kebabs. The veggie version is made with haloumi, falafel and vegetables and drizzled with garlic butter in front of the diner. This is not only a bit of fun, but I’m assured was also really tasty. If you’re ordering one of these though I would recommend opting for a couple of sides as well – we had some beautiful tender stem brocoli in harissa and sesame seeds, as well as the sweet chilli slaw that we couldn’t get enough of.
Admittedly there wasn’t a great range of choice for veggies, but I liked the sound of the butternut squash, goats cheese and mushroom pie. The pie itself didn’t quite win me over – there was a smokey undertone that didn’t quite work, and the ingredients seemed to all blend into one. The pastry, however, was well cooked, and the sweet potato fries and mushy peas that came with it (you can choose from chips, fries or mash) were all spot on.
Finally, we somehow found room for dessert. Jack, unsurprisingly, couldn’t resist ordering his favourite sticky toffee pudding, which was a real winner. The sponge was light and the rich, silky sauce was to die for. Having said this, it was my dessert that really stole the show. I never expect much from the final course in places such as these, as I’m not a traditional pudding type of gal – but the white chocolate and peanut butter mousse might just now be one of my favourite desserts in the city. The presentation was gorgeous, and the mousse managed to be both indulgent and light. If you have a sweet tooth and are a fan of anything peanut buttery – a visit to the Botanist is worth it just to try it!
Overall, our visit to the Botanist reaffirmed what we already knew – this place is a good, safe option for when you want to have some nice grub and a few cocktails in a relaxed environment. The friendly staff and banging play-list make for a great atmosphere, and the menu offers a wide range of choice for whatever you might be in the mood for. Thanks to everyone at the Botanist for having us, see you again soon!