The Botanist, Leeds is easily one of my favourite restaurants. If you're looking for quirky food and cocktails, a place to listen to decent music and pass time with friends, the Botanist is the place to be. When I found out that there was a Botanist restaurant in Birmingham, I knew I had to visit on my travels and see whether it is up to the standard of its northern based sister.
Birmingham's The Botanist* is located in the heart of the city on Temple Street, near the museums, the train stations and within a few minutes walk from the Bullring. The Botanist is quite easy to miss with it's dim outside lighting and very small signage, but when you get in there you can tell it's a very popular restaurant and bar with queues running a long the bar and people risking the wet weather for a few Saturday night beverages. Like the Leeds Botanist, the Birmingham branch has lovely and homely, yet quirky decor, all designed to replicate a Botanist's garden. I loved the chandeliers with hanging glass bottles and gardening paraphernalia and I particularly enjoyed being able to drink my mocktail huddled around a warm glowing fire, waiting for my table.
As soon as it turned 7pm we headed towards the reception desk and we were promptly lead to our table. The waiter took our order straight away and arrived swiftly back with these two cocktails. Although I'm not supposed to drink alcohol, I treated myself to a Strawberry Mojito and my husband opted for the Strawberry and Mint Martini. Both cocktails were lovely and my Mojito was just the right mix of ice as some restaurants fill the glass so full with ice these days that you hardly get any cocktail.
One thing I love about the Botanist is their theatrical dishes, the ones that are plated in a unique and fun way and when reading previous reviews, I saw a lot of people highly rating their mushroom starter. I've never had a starter at the Leeds Botanist before so I decided to try out pan-fried garlic mushrooms and was no disappointed. The plate size was perfect for a starter and the mushrooms were full of flavour, I couldn't fault them.
Unfortunately my husband was slightly disappointed with his starter as he had seen online that the basket of chicken wings were supposed to come in a picnic basket, but when they arrived they were served on a plate. We decided not to question the staff on this because at the end of the day the wings were cooked well and according to my husband tasted great, but it took some of the fun away as the Botanist is supposed to be quirky, but these were far from that.
On to the second course and I went for my all time favourite Halloumi hanging kebab with cous cous and my husband chose the steak. Both of us thoroughly enjoyed our main course and I enjoyed mine so much that I made the ultimate blogger faux pas and actually started tucking in before taking a photo...hence the plate next to it and the disheveled presentation. Honestly, I could eat Halloumi and cous cous every single day, it's one of my favourite combinations and the Botanist gets it right every single time. My husband really enjoyed having steak for the first time in months too.
After our main courses we were both feeling a little bit full, but decided to throw caution to the wind and have a dessert as y'know, YOLO! Anyway....I went for an apple crumble and my husband chose his all time favourite chocolate fudge cake. When both desserts arrived I was happy to see that they were the perfect size to end the meal, not mountains of food like some restaurants and not teeny either. I thoroughly enjoyed my apple crumble and the ice-cream on top was moreish. The plate was elegantly put together and a perfect way to end the meal. As they say 'the proof is in the pudding' and my husband finished his chocolate fudge cake in seconds, I'm taking that as a sign he loved it.
I really enjoyed our meal at The Botanist and despite one little hiccup, everything ran smoothly and we left feeling very satisfied and with incredibly full bellies. Did the Birmingham Botanist live up to the standards of the Leeds one? Of course it did, but as a northern lass, I'm probably going to a little bit more biased towards Leeds. If you're in Birmingham, the Botanist is definitely worth a visit and I'll be heading there again once we book our next trip.
Have you dined at the Birmingham Botanist?