The Botanist has been subjected to some mixed feedback since opening – it seems a bit Marmite from that point of view, so when we headed over to check out the lunchtime offering we were pleased to see a bustling bar and an equally busy restaurant.
Tables of what looked like mainly work colleagues graced the rustic benches with most diners sat in front of the signature hanging kebab swaying invitingly. We were pretty impressed. I’d heard good things about the cocktails, so despite it being a Tuesday and lunchtime I enjoyed a delicious water melon and sage sling relieved it was served in a glass, not a jam jar as seems so trendy nowadays. The food menu is slightly confusing with a deli board section consisting of 21 dishes to choose from, nibbles and starters, home comforts, barbecue and the rotisserie.
I opted for a scotch egg with piccalilli to start and although there was a bit of a delay, when it arrived it was seriously tasty with an unctuous runny yolk and a meaty, salty surround. I panic-ordered a main course because I couldn’t decide. In hindsight I’d have gone for a hanging kebab, but I actually went for the chicken and chorizo pie with a jug of gravy, chips and mushy peas. The pastry was great and chips were fab. The filling of the pie tasted nice, but I’d have liked the chorizo browned a bit before it went into the case. It was a hefty portion for lunchtime, so dessert was out of the question although they sounded and looked gorgeous. Everything was served on patterned plates like your Granny used to own which was a nice touch. It suited the décor which despite being designed to within an inch of its life, managed to pull off a relaxed, rustic vibe. This is the sixth Botanist in the chain and the people at the New World Trading Company are clearly onto a winner if it’s packed on Tuesday lunchtime. A little birdie told me they’ve had a large booking for Christmas Eve already securing a table by one of the open fireplaces.