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Restaurant Review: The Botanical at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond in Surrey

The Botanical salad

Words by Kerene Barefield

Having grown up in London, there are many places that I went to as a child and have never returned to as an adult. You tend to take for granted that they are always there on your doorstep and forget to take the wonderful opportunity to book a visit. For me, Kew Gardens is one of those place. So with my husband’s birthday coming up and now with a little boy of my own, I decided it was time to jump on the train across London and visit the Royal Gardens at Kew.

Luckily for us the sun was shining, which meant we could fully enjoy the beautiful, Royal Botanic Gardens which were in full summer bloom. I don’t really remember going as a child and I certainly don’t remember the enormously of them – but I also suspect they have changed a great deal since I went all those years back.

The Botanical dessert
The Botanical offers a predominantly plant-based British menu

We arrived around 11.30 and decided to start the day with a spot of lunch as Kew’s newest dining spot – The Botanical. This is Peyton and Byrne’s fifth catering spot at the gardens and the first all-day table service café. It is located in the historic 19th-century building formerly known as ‘Museum No.1’, and features a terrace overlooking the Palm House Conservatory and lake, as well as a bar and private dining room.

It was still relatively quiet when we arrived, which meant we were able to choose a beautiful table by the window, overlooking the water. The predominantly plant-based British menu, created by executive chef Lawrence Keogh (formerly of The Wolseley), reflects the location and puts emphasis on natural, seasonal ingredients. Serving brunch, lunch and afternoon tea, The Botanical offers modern British dishes and twists on classic favourites featuring herbs, plants and flowers grown hand-picked from the gardens.

The first thing I noticed was the warm friendly faces of the staff, who greeted us with a smile and who also were very accommodating with our little boy. The restaurant does have highchairs but doesn’t offer a child menu, however the restaurant manager was quick to suggest some child friendly meals that the chef could put together. It all sounded lovely, but as my husband and I had chosen the roasts I just asked them to do him a smaller plate – which he thoroughly enjoyed.

The restaurant is located in the historic 19th-century building formerly known as ‘Museum No.1’

After being there for a little while the restaurant filled up and there was a lovely relaxed atmosphere. The main course were very enjoyable and the bottle of Rose went down very well indeed! Dessert was very eye catching with edible flowers and the beautiful warm chocolate brownie was too die for – even if it was a little too much to finish. Zachary was also well looked with a big bowl of fresh strawberries and ice cream. I was told that the innovative menu will change regularly throughout the year depending on the availability of ingredients and produce available – upholding the restaurant’s strong commitment to seasonality. For those who enjoy a spot of table service then this is the restaurant for you within Kews grounds.

After lunch we spent the day enjoying the mass of things to see and do at Kew, including the Hive exhibition, the tree top walk, the waterlily house and climbers and creepers kids indoor play area. It was a beautiful family day out with loads to explore and do. I definitely won’t be leaving it as long before I return this time.

Address: Richmond TW9 3AB / 020 8332 5655