This week we were kindly invited for a complimentary meal at The Botanist in Newcastle, to try out their new autumn food & drinks menu.
For me The Botanist has always been a port of call when out in the Toon for a nice cocktail or pint of Wylam Brewery’s Jakehead IPA. Well from the dining side of life, they have made a shift towards a pub dining experience…but don’t worry, they still have the classic hanging kebabs.
The Botanist has been around for around 5 years, so I expect most people know about it by now (Feel free to skip to the scran!).
None the less, for those who haven’t been, it’s located right next to Grey’s Monument in Newcastle. The entrance is tucked down the side street next to Banyan. A few flights of stairs (or the lift) and you’re in!
At the centre of the bar is a stunning faux tree that sits beneath a huge skylight, filled with lights. You really need to visit at night to fully appreciate just how breathtaking the setting is.
The bar and restaurant is covered from ceiling to floor with mellow, vintage decorations – kind of farmhouse chic. In all, a pretty nice setting for some food, but the bar/restaurant can get really busy, so I’d strongly advise booking.
The new 2019 menu features some of the restaurants most popular dishes and some delicious new additions. They’ve added new options to hanging kebab selection, including hoisin duck, surf and turf and a halloumi vegan option. They’ve also introduced pick and mix deli boards and pie dishes to boot.
The new menu has a big mix of dishes that will appeal to almost anyone. I think they could do with highlighting which options are gluten-free as it’s still an important dietary requirement for a lot of people.
The cocktail menu has always been solid and I’ve probably worked best way through it over the years! Their Raspberry Disaronno Sour is an absolute must try!
This time I opted for the Apricot and Peach smash (£7.75):
Apricot and peach liqueirs, Woodford Reserce, aromatic bitters, mint, apricot purée and lemon juice
My wife opted for one of the new fruity mocktails. It’s nice to see the quality of the alcohol free options is up there with the main menu.
They also have a great beer menu, with a range of categorised beers. Before we left, I couldn’t resist a pint of Jakehead from the local Wylam Brewery.
If there’s one thing the Botanist isn’t lacking, it’s a choice of incredible drinks!
First up we decided to start with the Baked camembert for two. Served in a bread bowl, with an apple and bowl of chutney. The cheese was gooey perfection and the apple and chutney went well.
Unfortunately, the bread was a bit too dense for me. I was looking to tearing and dipping, but the only option was to cut slices with the borderline machete provided.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the dish, but when half the dish is bread, they really should be knocking it out of the park. It was a large portion for a starter – probably better shared between three people.
For my main, I opted for a new addition to the menu: a deli board. For £11.95 you can pick four dishes from a selection, or add more for £3.25 each.
This was great value in my opinion, as so many restaurants are currently overcharging for small dishes and under delivering on quality. I could easily see paying double the price elsewhere if you bought the dishes individually.
I chose the scotch egg, chicken pâté, crispy belly pork and chorizo stew. Naturally washed down with a pint of Jakehead!
This rustic, pub grub platter hit the mark perfectly. The scotch egg was crisp on the outside with a perfectly runny yolk as promised!
The chorizo tomato stew was slightly spicier than expected but delicious. The crispy belly pork with spring onions and chilli going down a treat too.
Finally, the chicken liver pâté was really tasty and not a mixed with pork pâté, which so many restaurants seem to think is acceptable to serve! I think the texture could have been slightly thicker and I must admit, a large knife (such as the one with the camembert) would have come in handy for tackling the wedge of bread that was included.
My wife went for the five spice duck hanging kebab with hoisin sauce. The duck was cooked to perfection and super tender. The hoisin sauce wasn’t too overpowering which we’ve found to be the case in other restaurants.
Overall it was a deliciously warming dish and perfect for a lunchtime treat on a cold day shopping in Newcastle!
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the new menu on offer at the Botanist. Their move to a pub-style menu and setting seems to be proving popular, given they were all but full when we visited!
There were a few points which I think could have made the meal that little bit better, but certainly an enjoyable visit. Needless to say, their cocktail menu is still one of the best in town and if you’re looking for fresh ingredients and a dash of panache with your drinks, then this is the place to go.