Everyone who’s anyone seems to have has heard of The Botanist, and since it opened this bar and restaurant is often deemed ‘the place to be.’ It could be down to its central location, or the fact that every inch of this establishment is Instagrammable.
You only need to take to social media to see what I’m talking about, where its rustic decor, giant tree above the bar and food and drink is often snapped and posted.
However, we were pushed to find a better view than the one from our table, which looked onto Grey’s Monument and down Grey Street.
Looking around the room at other tables, cocktails are definitely the drink to order. There’s a huge selection of short and long cocktails priced from £6.95. I went for something refreshing; the carrot and ginger crush (£4.50).
When it arrived it looked like a work of art with fresh ginger carefully placed along the side of the glass and topped with a sprinkle of mint.
If cocktails aren’t to your taste, The Botanist has more than 84 craft beers, ales and ciders to choose from, 11 of which are brand new to the collection and have been sourced from across the globe.
When it comes to the menu you’re not stuck for choice. From deli boards to home comforts, there’s something to satisfy every craving. For starters I chose the pork crackling (£3.50), which was served alongside a mini wheelbarrow filled with apple sauce and a pinch of chilli. The pieces of crackling were light and crunchy, and the fresh chilli gave a spicy kick to every bite. The saltiness of the pork and the sweetness of the apple sauce complemented one another perfectly.
Although the restaurant was filled to the brim – and drinkers can expect more of a wait at the bar – we weren’t waiting long before we were tucking into our next course.
For mains I went for the pan-fried seabass fillets (£13.95) with a side of mash, while my friend chose one of The Botanist’s speciality hanging kebabs with halloumi (£10.95).
Presentation is definitely a key aspect here – the seabass was layered beautifully on a bed of spinach with finely diced chillies and tomatoes scattered across the plate, and finished with a drizzle of peri peri dressing.
The fish was cooked to perfection; the skin was crisp on the edges and as soon as you cut into the fillet it instantly fell apart. The vegetables were flavoursome and filling, while the peri peri sauce tantalised my taste buds.
Due to the generous portion there was no need for additional sides, but the mash was so incredibly smooth and creamy that I found myself scooping up the remains after just a few minutes of tucking in.
I was feeling pretty full to say the least, but my sweet tooth couldn’t resist the chocolate fudge cake and ice cream (£4.95). The warm, gooey chocolate sponge combined with melted vanilla ice cream tasted almost too good to feel guilty about.
However, if you like to end the night with a tipple then Millionaire beer (£5.50) is a good choice. This dark ale is velvety smooth and boasts hints of caramel, cocoa and sea salt – basically caramel shortbread in a bottle.
It may not be the cheapest night out, but The Botanist certainly offers a unique experience you’ll struggle to find anywhere else.
If you’re looking for somewhere that’s central where you can wine and dine in a relaxed atmosphere, then you’ll find it nestled under the roof of Monument Mall.