Food time again on the blog and today I'm talking all about The Botanist Birmingham. If you haven't visited any of The Botanist's locations which are dotted around 13 cities in the UK including York, Newcastle and Sheffield then you're seriously missing out. It's a bar and restaurant like no other with a unique concept centring around botanical cocktails, craft beers and ales. It also has a great selection of wine and champagne if that's more up your street and most importantly the food is superb and inspired by deli, rotisserie and BBQ. It's the ultimate after-work social spot with a great atmosphere and the occasional live music gig.
I had been to The Botanist Birmingham once before with my boyfriend but it was literally a flying visit before a trip to London. I didn't really get the time to look through the menu and try more of what was on offer. I must say however, I was thoroughly impressed and when I was asked by the restaurant to come in for a complimentary meal in exchange for this review I was totally up for it. I took my girl Taylor along and we enjoyed some yummy food and drink which left our taste buds dancing and our bellies full. Great combination if you ask me.
We arrived at the restaurant just after 6pm on a Tuesday evening and it was buzzing with after-work punters. This is expected as it's right at the centre of Birmingham city centre and extremely close to both Grand Central station and Snow Hill station. The atmosphere was great and lively and we were greeted by a lovely hostess who showed us to our tables and told us about the day's specials and the new additions to the menu. We took a couple of minutes to look through the menu and we started with a couple of drinks from their great cocktail list. I went for the Thai Chilli Crush cocktail which contained fresh chilli, micro Thai basil, apple and lemon juice, Tanqueray gin and green apple liqueur. I loved that this cocktail could be tailor made to your desired heat which I thought was quite cool. I went for medium strength which was just right for me and left the right amount of heat after every sip. Taylor went for the Passion Fruit and Basil Crush which is a Disaronno based cocktail with lime and orange juice, Drambuie and some passion fruit and basil churned through the drink. It was a very fruity and well balanced drink. Perfect if you like your cocktails on the sweet side.
We also ordered some crispy Whitebait from the nibbles section of the food menu to go with our cocktails. This was a new addition to the menu that had just been added that day. The fish was crispy on the outside yet soft on the inside and had lashings of cayenne flavour. It was served wrapped in a paper bag which I thought was quite quirky and fun and it came with a saffron mayo dip. The mayo was tangy and flavoursome and went really well with the fish. I definitely recommend trying this dish out if you're a fan of fish; super tasty!
For my starter I went for another new addition to the menu, the smoked haddock fondue. It is basically a cheesy sauce with smoked haddock pieces topped with a poached egg and a herb crumb. It also came with some lovely fougasse bread to soak up all the cheesy goodness. The fondue was a lovely and full of smoked haddock flavour. It was a little bit salty for my taste especially eaten on it's own but when eaten with some bread and egg I found the flavour to be quite balanced. Taylor had the basket of wings, a firm restaurant favourite and the wings were lovely and crispy. She had them served with a barbecue sauce dip and she enjoyed every single bite. I did too as I knicked a couple; they were just too good to resist. Both starters were good portions and were just what we both needed to get us all ready and excited for our mains.
I went for a hanging kebab for my main meal and again this is another popular dish at the restaurant. I had the lamb hanging kebab last time I visited and that was so tasty! I decided to go for the Jerk salmon hanging kebab for this visit and I did not regret it. The fish was perfectly cooked and amazingly spiced and it actually had a smoky jerk flavour. It comes served with rice and peas but I upgraded my side to some sweet potato fries which were lovely and crispy. I am such a sucker for sweet potato fries and always opt for them if they're ever on a menu. Needless to say, my main was lovely and I enjoyed every single bite. It was a healthy portion and I did struggle to finish it but this was more so because of the two previous courses I'd had and the fact that I wanted to leave some room for dessert.
Taylor had the beef burger for her main and she requested it well done and topped with fried onion, cheese and bacon from the extras which cost £1.50 each. For her side she went with the properly seasoned fries. Taylor said her burger was tasty and cooked perfectly and she had no complaints about her fries either. they were exactly what they said on the tin; properly seasoned. We also ordered an extra side of charred corn on the cob to share and it was a great accompaniment that went with both our meals. The corn was lovely and soft and was lightly charred to give a nice smokey flavour. We both really enjoyed tucking into our main meals and I'd seriously recommend trying both... maybe just not at the same time because they really are some good sized portions.
By the time dessert came along we were both quite full but when dessert is on offer it's rude not to have it right? Taylor had the baked chocolate chip cookie dough and it was served with the most gorgeous salted caramel ice cream which I tried a couple spoonfuls of. I went for the warm chocolate fudge cake because chocolate is life! It was served with a side of vanilla ice cream and it was so delicious and incredibly moreish. I seriously didn't want it to end!
The desserts were the perfect ending to a perfect evening and I must say we both thoroughly enjoyed our visit to The Botanist Birmingham. I will definitely be returning for more cocktails and food over the summer and taking my friends along because I know it's a place that they'll appreciate. It's got decently priced food and drinks, great atmosphere, variety and amazing and knowledgeable staff who looked after us well and were always ready to recommend something for us when we were stuck. What's not to love? If you have a Botanist at a location near you I also recommend booking in for a visit. You seriously won't be disappointed.
Have you visited The Botanist before? What was your experience?