When Botanist first came to Manchester, I got really excited about a space which combines dining with the aesthetics of a garden. We all know Manchester isn’t best known for its sunny skies, so creating an indoor environment where you can socialise and chill sounds ideal to me. Here, I explore Botanist’s spring menu at their Media City site in Salford, Greater Manchester with my blogger friend, Lacey of Laceyfitspo.*
The Botanist Exterior
The Botanist is located on the first floor, but you cannot miss the entrance to the restaurant with its gorgeous plant displays and wooden signs placed outside. The inside is also decorated with foliage with a small spiral staircase taking you to the restaurant. There is also a lift for disabled access.
The Botanist interior
The interior is like walking through the garden of a quaint cottage. All the foliage details, the soft woods and the fairy lights make me feel like I’m having a picnic somewhere nice (sorry Manchester, you can be a bit doom and gloom). There’s live music playing here every evening as well. There is also some seating out on the balcony which would be awesome during those warmer days.
Raspberry, Grape and Elderflower Cooler and the Peach and Apple Pot
I originally wanted to order the Pear and Kiwi Cup because it contains pear cognac and green tea. If you know me, you know I love pear anything and I basically hoard tea like there’s a teapocalypse. I was very much dismayed when informed that they did not have any pear cognac. My world theoretically tumbled and I was at a loss for what to do. I asked them to suggest something and ended up with the Peach and Apple Pot (front, right of photo), which looks pretty cool with a performance of dry ice. It tasted as expected. If I was being fair, it was a decent drink, but nothing could bring me back from the sadness of pear withdrawal. (Melodramatic, I know).
Lacey immediately jumped on the Augustiner-Bräu Lagerbier Hell, also known as the Augustiner Helles. It is an Austrian beer and brewed in a monastery in Salzberg, but for Lacey, it was the beer that she and her family drank when they visit Munich. The lager is 5.2% alcohol and a 500ml bottle will set you back £5.95. She also ordered the Raspberry, Grape and Elderflower cordial pictured in the photo afterwards which was fruity, sugary and sweet.
On a slightly different note, can we get rid of the plastic straws?
Nocellara Olives and Cumberland Scotch Egg
Having eaten with Lacey a fair bit, if there are olives on the menu, you damn right know she’s going to order it if she can! These Nocellara olives were really nice although be warned, they are not pitted. I’m not bothered if olives are pitted or not, so would be having these again.
I ordered the Cumberland scotch egg which came with some rocket leaves and homemade piccalilli. I enjoyed these, but if I were being picky (ok yes, I’m being picky) the yolk could have been runnier. I’ve had better scotch eggs in restaurants, but these are nothing to be disappointed in.
Harissa Aubergine Steak
Lacey ordered the Harissa aubergine steak which was served with almond and Israeli couscous, pomegranate seeds, grilled baby gem lettuce and tahini. Additional fact! Israeli couscous is actually just pasta shaped into small balls resembling couscous. The balls are larger than actual couscous grains. I actually quite liked this dish. The Harissa was beautifully smokey and spiced on top of the aubergine and I quite liked the Israeli couscous combined with the sharp sweetness of the pomegranate seeds. The grilled baby gem, I quite liked as I always like more veggies on my plate. I think some other greens would have worked better, having said this.
Lacey was not as impressed as I was, however. As the Harissa was only on the top of the aubergine, when biting into the middle of the aubergine steak, you got mostly just the flavour of aubergine with a bit of Harissa. This could be rectified by chopping the aubergine up. Whilst I can understand this reasoning, I personally didn’t mind as the Harissa was quite spicy so when slicing through the aubergine, you always got some of the heat. She also wasn’t as fond of the pomegranate seeds and found the baby gem lettuce unnecessary.
Pan-fried Seabass Fillets
I ordered the pan-fried seabass fillets which was served with sweet potato quinoa, tenderstem broccoli, pomegranate seeds and a dressing made from pomegranate and citrus. The fish was cooked well, the sweet potato quinoa added a complement to the seabass without overpowering the flavour. The sharp and sweet dressing worked well with both these and the tenderstem broccoli added a crunchy texture to the dish. I liked it very much.
We also ordered some sides, although in hindsight these were completely unnecessary as the mains provided more than enough food. The sweet potato fries were cooked very well, seasoned with fajita spices which added a subtle flavour. The salt and pepper chips were also cooked well and although the menu doesn’t state that these are vegan. I enquired with the waiter and he was able to show me the list of ingredients used to make these. I couldn’t find any meat or dairy in them, although maybe there’s honey? I can’t remember now. If you want to make doubly sure, enquire with your server before ordering. The chips were sweeter than the traditional salt and pepper chips I tend to have at a Chinese so be sure to take that into consideration if you pair your sides to your mains (me!) like people pair wine with their meals. I could have done without the sweetness, personally.
Homemade Banana Doughnuts and the Bitter Chocolate and Roasted Pineapple Pot
Lacey ordered the vegan homemade banana doughnuts, which were more like banana fritters. The bottle on the left is a peanut milkshake and the dip in the centre is salted caramel. Elvis would almost be proud, we’re just missing the grape jam/jelly. Lacey really liked this. I am personally not that fond of fritters, perhaps because I’m tired of seeing them from my parents takeaway business. Having said that, they tasted alright and the salted caramel worked well with them. I did however love the peanut milkshake. Can I just get this on its own?
I ordered the bitter chocolate and roasted pineapple pot, which was also vegan. I love roasted pineapple and that sweetness offsets the bitter chocolate quite well. The raspberry sorbet on top was a good palate cleanser. It’s a good one if you like all the flavours individually.
Overall rating and comments
7/10, -0.5 for me being overly picky with my scotch egg. (I’m sorry). -0.5 for the charred baby gem lettuce with the Harissa aubergine steak. -0.5 for my salt and pepper chips, just sweeter than I’d like. -0.5 for the naming of the banana doughnuts. I know what you mean, but they are fritters. -1 on the slightly confusing menu labels for dietary requirements. I suspect there are more items that are vegan that aren’t listed. I like the fact that there is a separate menu for gluten free items, can we have similar for vegan too? I know they exist in other branches of Botanist.
The staff were exceptionally attentive and really nice.
Would visit again?
Yes. I still need my Pear and Kiwi Cup.
There are several branches of the Botanist, but the information below relates to the one I visited in this review.
Address: Orange Building, MediaCityUK, Salford M50 2HE
Do you like the interior of the Botanist? Have you been before?
Let me know in the comments below!
*I was invited to the Botanist and did not have to pay for my meal. All opinions my own.