Spring is officially here and you know what that means; a new season and a brand new menu at The Botanist, in Newcastle. Situated inside Monument Mall, The Botanist is one of my favourite places to visit in the city centre. Everytime I visit there’s always something new and exciting to try, yet I know that the venue always delivers the same magical experience. What better way to sample its new dishes that with a mid-week girl date.
Before even looking at the menu, we ordered our favourite cocktail, The Botanist. You can’t visit The Botanist without trying its signature cocktail and this long drink is a combination of vodka, rum and elderflower liqueur. I personally think it’s similar to a mojito, but served in a super-cool glass and topped with a vibrant garnish.
The starters had me at cheese, more precisely, the sharing camembert baked in garlic and rosemary sourdough. I’m a huge cheese lover and I was so eager to give this a go that I told my dinner date not to bother selecting a starter as I had chosen for us! There were a few other options that caught my eye though, such as, the curried hummus with grilled flatbread and the cumberland scotch egg topped with homemade piccalilli.
I’m glad I went with my taste buds because our starter did not disappoint. The presentation exceeded my expectations, as the baked cheese came inside the sourdough, so all we had to do was rip into the bread. Messy, but oh-so satisfying. The camembert also came with a Braeburn apple, which complemented the cheese perfectly, and a smoky apple ketchup, which basically tasted like Christmas in a jar. This starter was absolutely amazing, however, I would recommend this for a table of four, as half way through we were ready to unbutton our jeans!
For mains I was torn between the activated charcoal flatbreads, or the salt and pepper pork belly hanging kebab. In the end I went with the latter, as the hanging kebabs are iconic to this eatery. My dinner date went for The Botanist deli board, which is where you can select four different dishes. Amy went for the roast chorizo with tomato, shallots, rosemary and red wine, Shorrocks Lancashire macaroni cheese, crispy chicken fillets with Scotch bonnet hot sauce and polenta and halloumi chips with harissa jam.
As the sweet chilli and ginger dressing made its way down the skewer; covering the thick chunks of salt and pepper pork belly, my taste buds were tingling with anticipation. The pork belly itself was cooked to perfection; slightly crispy on the outside and tender and juicy in the centre. I never would have put pork with sweet chilli, but it surprisingly worked very well together. Once my pork belly was gone, I used my delicious salt and pepper chips to mop up the rest of the sauce. My dinner date loved her choices, especially the macaroni cheese. She even said it was the best mac and cheese she’d ever had!
Although we were pretty much stuffed, it would have been rude to not have dessert. Not going to lie, I’d already picked my dessert before my starter. I wanted to try the homemade banana doughnuts, but unfortunately they were all gone, so I took this opportunity to try something a little different. I went for the bitter chocolate and roasted pineapple pot with raspberry sorbet and Amy went for the baked chocolate chip cookie dough.
I glad I tried something a little different, but the mixture of chocolate and pineapple wasn’t for me, however, the sorbet was so refreshing. I also couldn’t help but have some of Amy’s dessert, as the gooey combination of cookie, melted ice cream and sticky toffee sauce was calling to me, and OMG it was amazing. Definitely one for those who have a sweet tooth.
Have you tried anything new from the menu? What’s your favourite dish, or cocktail from The Botanist?
Sarah Jayne x