I’d heard great things about The Botanist again and again, but I had yet to ever make it to one of their locations to try it out for myself. Before we even get into the food, I want to mention the decor: The Botanist is beautiful. I can only describe it as a garden centre meets an old eccentric Victorian’s home. I loved it.
The Botanist is famous for their cocktails so we started off with drinks. I had the blackberry and rosemary fizz (£7.95) and Sam had the blueberry and passionfruit martini (£7.75). Mine consisted of fresh blackberries, rosemary, sugar syrup, lemon and apple juice shaken with Tanqueray gin and sloe gin, topped with soda. It was so refreshing with just the lightest hint of sweet. Sam’s drink went down way too easily. It was quite sweet and more like something that I would typically order: it had fresh blueberries, lemon juice, passion fruit syrup and liqueur with a burst of Brockmans blueberry-infused gin, finished with a touch of vanilla liqueur. It tasted like the more mature version of a pornstar martini.
For starters we shared the salt and pepper onion petals with creme fraiche (£3.95) and the homemade hummus with crudites and fougasse (£4.95). The onion petals were out of this world. Lightly battered and the creme fraiche was just tangy enough to cut the flavours perfectly. The hummus was delicious with big chickpea chunks. My only concern with it was that our slices of fougasse were small. The crudites were a nice touch (carrot, cucumber and celery) but there just wasn’t enough stuff there to scoop up the delicious hummus. I could have done with double the amount of fougasse.
For mains, Sam had the flattened rump that was marinated in chilli and garlic with a roasted mushroom, plum tomato and watercress with a side of chips (£12.95) whilst I had the halloumi and falafel hanging kebab with garlic butter and cauliflower couscous (£10.95). Sam’s steak was really delicious, and though it was thin it was absolutely jam-packed with flavour – that marinade must have been amazing. And his chips were just the way I like them, super crunchy!
My hanging kebab was a thing of beauty. It was so flavourful that I didn’t really need the garlic butter to pour over the top. But the pièce de résistance was really the falafel. I know some people are wine experts, but my specialty is falafel and this was perfect: not too try, chunky enough to be interesting and not bland in the slightest. I wish that I had gotten the falafel again as a starter in retrospect!
Despite being stuffed, the desserts looked too good to resist. We chose two options looking to split them evenly. We opted for the baked chocolate chip cookie dough with ice-cream (£5.50) and the caramelised banana split with toasted marshmallow ice cream, brownie pieces, peanuts, biscuit cream and chocolate sauce (£5.50). The desserts. Where to start talking about the desserts…. The Botanist is worth a trip alone just to taste these two majesties. The baked cookie dough was in a small skillet and it was cooked just enough to form a small crust but was basically just still piping hot dough. Combined with the melting magic of the ice-cream it was a dessert fit for a queen. Or my 9 year old self planning the perfect dessert whilst stealing chunks of cookie dough as my mom made cookies. Yes to this. But this isn’t to relegate the banana split. It was also worthy of having its praises sung! A slightly more mature option than the baked cookie dough, with just the same spirit of fun: the banana was cooked to perfection and all the textures were spot on!
I will undoubtedly return in the future, again and again!
The Botanist York is located at 15-19 Stonegate, York, YO1 8ZW
Have you ever been to one of The Botanist’s locations? Do you have any recommendations for next time?
***Our meal was complimentary, but as always, my views are solely my own.***
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