I do love places with considerable attention to detail, and I’m going to give The Botanist in West Bridgford full marks for this. The Botanist is a new to me, and new to the Nottingham area, restaurant, though depending on where you live in the UK you might also have come across them already.
I went to their press night with Mrs Mini and was incredibly impressed. Even when they fell into the trap of one of my pet hates, but I’ll come to that. The restaurant has been beautifully fitted out (it took over from what I remember as a pizza and pasta joint), and I loved the details. I would like the light fitting moved into my dining room. Just after they lift the ceiling by about five feet!
You might have a bad case of indecisiveness even just at the picking a drink stage. Great cocktails, with some great theatre. Mrs Mini’s came in a plant pot (detail again) and had mist floating out of it when the liqueur was added to it. I was the designated driver, so just tested the non-alcoholic versions but they were great too. There’s an extensive gin menu and a whole book of beers and ales. There are even beer flights if that’s your thing.
There were great deli boards amongst the starter options, which I appreciate is hardly groundbreaking. We had homemade picnic favourites which included a delicious pulled pork sausage roll, a Scotch egg with a perfectly runny yolk and a great feta and beetroot dip. Nice to see a fougasse bread featured too. The onion petals, while possibly being reminiscent of the deep fried onion that used to be on the menu at TGI’s, was quite delicious, particularly the five spice coating.
There’s plenty of variety on the mains as well. We tried a vegetarian pie, which was surprisingly tasty (as butternut squash can be badly mistreated in the wrong hands). I had one of the hanging kebabs, significantly better than last time I came across one in France. I loved the apple and Stilton side salad that I picked to go with it, really refreshing with the honey and garlic chicken.
When it all went a bit wrong
Anyone who knows me will know I had to try the dessert menu. And it had all been going so well to that point. Just to remember my first point, The Botanist is great at detail. If you’re going to have a theme, then I guess you have to go all out. Which is no doubt why my white chocolate and peanut butter mousse was served in a garden trowel.
And then I noticed the next table had a mini picnic basket being delivered. So I was pleased to have not ordered the scampi. Or whatever came with aioli in a mini watering can.
But look, it couldn’t really spoil it. We had a great evening, the food was all incredibly tasty, and the atmosphere great. We were well looked after by our waiter, Matt, who gave us great recommendations for everything we ordered.
I think The Botanist is a welcome addition to what is a fairly crowded restaurant scene in West Bridgford. I would certainly rate them more highly than Gusto, which we went to just after their opening, and weren’t at all impressed with their service. The food wasn’t much to write home about either.
Here’s hoping The Botanist is with us for quite some time.