The inside of The Botanist is decorated in an eccentric manner, a sort of Hobbit meets hipster vibe with chandeliers made from wine glasses, low ceilings and a rustic decorative vibe. The bar area was teeming with trendy looking professionals who blended into the shabby chic interior and enforced the bar’s upmarket feel. Each night of the week The Botanist has live music gigs with singers, pianists and guitar players accompanying the chatter of the bar. On the night we were visiting, members of the Barcode Zebra including vocalist Jess Gardham, were producing some bluesy and jazzy renditions of pop classics - making the songs almost unrecognisable aside from the odd identifiable lyric. The music fitted in perfectly with the laid back but classy vibe of the venue, providing a soulful tone, as well as some thoroughly enjoyable and technically laudable ballads.
As we pondered over what drinks to have, we decided to get some bar nibbles for the table and ordered a selection of all the options available. As a huge platter arrived, we were surprised by the generosity of the portions. Dishes filled the table as the sweet, fried smells reached our noses and our mouths began to water. All the food was presented with aesthetics and theme in mind with the sausage ensemble in a miniature colander and the apple sauce for the pork crackling in a tiny but fully functioning wheelbarrow. The pork crackling ,which presentation alluded to a garden with the red chilli slices and spring onions acting as a colourful, foliage-like decorative addition, had a progressive chilli kick and crispy crunch and was complemented by the not too sweet apple sauce. Another popular meaty choice was the miniature Cumberland sausages which were tender, meaty and a perfect pop-in-your-mouth size. My stand out favourite, however, was the onion petals, a fancy adaptation of the classic onion ring, which were coated in a salt and pepper batter - incredibly moreish after being dunked in their creamy garlic accompaniment.
My table decided on a diverse range of cocktails ranging from the signature glass,The Botanist, to the Cherry Blossom Martini. I went for the waitress’s recommendation of the Apricot and Ginger Slinger and was treated to a zesty and refreshing cocktail with the ginger providing a spicy punch. Tasting my companion’s drink the Cherry Blossom Martini was more of a slow sipper, appearing particularly potent, although the sweetness cut through this and we could taste a definite hint of thyme within the drink. The Strawberry and Cucumber sling on the other hand was a thirst quenching summer cooler with that freshness that only cucumber can provide. The Botanist was arguably the prettiest of the drinks (although they had all been thoughtfully presented). For those wanting a more substantial tipple the ‘Anthology of Ales’ had an astonishing listing of ales, brews and beers from all over the globe - enough to keep a brew lover busy for a few hours.
If you want a night out with a touch of class or you’re in search of a bearded hipster with horn-rimmed glasses, then The Botanist is the perfect place for you. The music element of the evening provided something a bit different and with this featuring every night of the week there is always an atmosphere and bustle to the bar. A special nod to the service, who despite having a packed restaurant and bar made the time to check back on our table to ensure we were having a fun time, as well as making recommendations of cocktails and drinks, providing attentive customer service while making us feel special.