The Botanist – review

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17 Willoughby Street, Kirribilli

The Botanist restaurant in Kirribilli was once a small bookshop run by an English man Gerald Fothergill who passed in the early 1930s. The spirit of this man was very present in many of the dishes on the menu. The influence of flavours and spices took me on a journey through the places Fothergill travelled, predominately through the Middle East.

As soon as I walked into this quirky treehouse-like-restaurant-come-bar I witnessed bursting plants, spilling conversations and contagious laughter.

The sense of sharing is encouraged through high seating. The setting, atmosphere and wait staff portray a younger, ‘trendy’ scene for the restaurant.

As a group we ordered ‘The Botanist Lunch’ from the set menu, which included five share plates with a range of vegetarian, meat and gluten-free dishes.

Plate 1: presented on a rustic board with corn chips, chunky guacamole and a ‘not-quite-salsa’ tomato dip. The presentation portrayed that ‘trendy’ style and the guacamole had a good balance of avocado and lemon. Who doesn’t love a good guac with corn chips…

Plate 2: for ‘quinoa lovers’ – but isn’t everyone? Grilled haloumi and cold asparagus sat on a bed of honey and mint quinoa – basically a yummy cold salad. The mint gave a sense of freshness to the dish and the flavours were complementary.

Plate 3: for the rich and creamy palate. Cumin chicken skewers sat on a bed of smokey speck and barley risotto. The creamy barley was was definitely creamy (although I wasn’t complaining) and the chicken was succulent and tender. The spices present in the dish showed the spirit of Fothergill, highlighting his adventurous nature through the bold choice of ingredients.

Plate 4: I was most excited to bite into, pork and cider slider with blue cheese mayo – ‘sliders’ just a fancy word for a miniature burger, but although miniature, it was certainly NOT small in flavour. The combination of the sweet, juicy pork with blue cheese mayo was mouth-watering. The dish was the hero of the lunch for me.

Plate 5: last but not least, was the chargrilled sirloin with carrot purée and roasted vegetables. They should’ve named the purée ‘ginger’ not carrot as the flavour was a little overpowering, but at least the consistency was smooth. The sirloin was cooked to medium perfection and was tantalising on my taste buds.

Overall the dishes were simple, honest food and the portions generous. Both the food and beverage menu offered a range in variety and price, and you sure get a bang for your buck. The wait staff were informative and friendly.

I rate The Botanist 4/5.

Happy eating, love Jem x

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