Restaurent Review: The Botanist Broadgate Circle, London
Located in the prominent and popular Broadgate Circle, The Botanist provides not just a treat for the stomach, but a fascinating feast for the eyes too. As you enter the premises, a large taxidermy swan greets you, suspended by chains above the staircase, his beautiful wings spread out for all to admire. Around the interior walls are numerous mounted specimens of colourful butterflies, moths and various species of birds to regard and pique ones interest. A fully stocked bookshelf against one wall creates a comfy home study vibe in one corner, with copies of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (amongst others) providing an impressive reading collection.
Along one of the back walls, beneath the many framed specimens is a long, dark olive green sofa with tables along it to provide for small groups of diners. The dimmed lighting and upbeat and funky background music make for a relaxed but cultured atmosphere after work.
We were given a glass of the Hunters Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2015, to enjoy with some deliciously crusty bread and butter, served on a wooden board. For starters, I chose their Scottish Salmon Rillette, with Pickled Cucumber and Bagel Crisps. The pickling of the cucumber went well with the saltiness and fish-flavours in the salmon. The bagel crisps were delectably light and the mixture of herbs in the cucumber salad was delicious.
My dining partner chose their Duck Liver Pate, with Plum Chutney and Toasted Brioche. The generously thick slice of brioche was wonderfully soft and light. The pate was gorgeously smooth, with a strong flavour. This was complemented well by the underlying edge of balsamic vinegar in the chutney.
For the main course, I opted for their Crab Linguine with Chilli Oil. A slightly hotter (but not unpleasant) chilli flavour than I was expecting, with a wonderful mix of herbs in the sauce. As you would expect, the pasta was perfectly al dente and served in a thick and creamy sauce with a generous helping of fresh crab meat and both finely chopped chillies and larger thin slices. Perfect for warming you up during the coming winter months.
My dining partner chose their Scallop and Shrimp Burger, with a Thai Slaw and Fries. A delightfully soft brioche bun sandwiched an incredible selection of flavours from the scallops and shrimp patty. Having been allowed a sample bite, you could really taste the mixture of flavours in every mouthful. The Thai spiced slaw was a flavoursome alternative to the standard coleslaw most of us are used to eating. A surprise slice of avocado in the bun was a welcome addition too.
We also shared their side dishes of Roast Squash, Red Onion and Thyme and Balsamic, together with some chunky Hand Cut Chips. The butternut squash was scrumptiously soft with the red onion perfectly cooked, leaving a slight crunch to enjoy it to its fullest. The balsamic added a touch of sweetness to the already succulent vegetables. The chunky chips were perfectly lightly salted (too many restaurants I find over salt their food) and were served with both a mild mustard-mayonnaise and ketchup.
Our very attentive waitress ensured that our drinks were continuously re-filled throughout and then it was onto the desserts – always the best part of a meal in my opinion. We shared their White Chocolate Cheesecake, with Elderberry and their Sticky Toffee Pudding with Crunchy Nut Cornflake and Ice Cream. The cheesecake was deliciously fruity from the unusual choice of elderberry, adding a rich sharpness to its flavour. The wonderfully light cheesecake was served with exceptionally smooth vanilla ice cream on a bed of light biscuit crumbs.
The sticky toffee pudding had a surprisingly pleasant burnt taste to the toffee sauce, very sweet and served warm with the smooth vanilla ice cream, again on a biscuit base. Whilst the pudding itself was exceedingly good, I wasn’t impressed with the cornflakes addition. Whilst some may enjoy the added crunch it brings, I would have preferred to enjoy the sugary softness of the pudding by itself. But this was a minor factor compared to how delicious the overall dessert was.
By the bar on our side, there were two huge copper vats of Meantime Brew which added to the scientist feel around the bar, as well as a larger dining area on the other side of the open plan bar. There is also a separate bar downstairs and whilst I wouldn’t usually comment on the facilities, the female toilets were beautifully decorated, with large copper bowls, tiled walls and fantastic full length mirrors, creating a rather impressive effect.
All three courses had been thoughtfully created, bringing together a delightful mix of flavours in each mouthful. And for those diners wanting to enjoy an afternoon meal there, they offer a Bottomless Brunch or for the weekend diners, an After Dark Experience every Saturday from 6pm, where they will serve two or three courses with a bottomless supply of Prosecco or (certain) wines. Complete with a live band whilst you enjoy all the culinary delights this unique establishment has to offer.
Address: Broadgate Circle, Broadgate Cir, London EC2M 2QS / 020 3058 9888 / thebotanistlondon.com