Botanist, SW1W 8EE

Restaurant and bar on Sloane Square, part of the ETM Group.

The bar and restaurant areas are separate, though there's no door between them, so noise from the bar does leak in to the restaurant. The bar is not large, and gets quite crowded, with people regularly spilling out onto the pavement during the evenings. The restaurant, up a step on the right, is larger and airier.

Food is served all day from opening until 10:30pm; in the restaurant, service is divided into breakfast, lunch/brunch, afternoon tea, and dinner. Bar food is served noon-10:30pm, and bar customers are also welcome to order from the restaurant menu during lunch and dinner service, though the bar tables are fairly small so you wouldn't want to do this in a large party. Vegetarian options are present but not emphasised. Menus are available on their website.

Kake and bob visited for drinks and dinner on a Wednesday evening in April 2009. Arriving around 5:30pm, we were quite lucky to find a spare table in the bar. We drank Edelweiss wheat beer (£2.50/half, £4.50/pint). Kake was unimpressed to find the bar staff doing that cheeky thing where they give you your change as more coins than actually necessary in order to solicit a tip. A 50p tip on a £2.50 drink that took 20 seconds to pour? I don't think so. There are no handpumps, and most people seemed to be drinking wine, but bob did spot some form of cider available in bottles.

We hadn't booked, but there was no problem finding us a table in the restaurant at 7pm; they even put us by the window to enjoy the good weather. Service was polished and friendly.

Kake started with steak tartare (£8.50) photo, which was fine; the meat was well-prepared (though a tad on the vinegary side for my taste), the game chips were crisp and fresh, and the little garnishy bits were well-integrated. bob had the grilled mackerel salad (£7.50) photo, which was also good, with the fish cooked just right.

For mains, Kake went for the sole (non-salad) vegetarian option; morel mushroom, gruyere, and leek tart served with a deep-fried egg (£15) photo. This wasn't bad, though it was quite rich as a whole, and the morels in the tart weren't as prominent as I'd have liked. Our shared side order of spinach (£4) did go some way to ameliorating the richness and providing some colour. The deep-fried egg was well-executed, with a crisply battered exterior and a runny yolk. bob was very pleased with his steak (£19) photo; good meat, properly cooked, and served with a fantastic sauce that tasted like distilled essence of steak.

We finished with the cheeseboard (£9) photo for bob and a Black Ruby cocktail (£8) for Kake. The cheeseboard included five interesting cheeses. Kake's cocktail was OK if a little uninspiring — I should have gone for the other one I was pondering, the Somerset Crumble photo of part of the cocktail menu.

Our final bill was £120 for the two of us, including the auto-added 12.5% service charge.

Kake's verdict: I'd like to come back for afternoon tea, since their tea menu looks quite interesting (dragon well, silver needle, pu-erh). I'd come back for dinner too, but if I'd booked I think I'd suggest meeting in the Antelope up the road, rather than the bar here.

Accessibility: I can't remember if there was a step to get into the bar, but the restaurant is up at least one step and the toilets are down a flight of stairs.

See also:

Last visited by Kake and bob, 29 April 2009. Opening hours and food times taken from the Botanist website, April 2009.

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OS X co-ord: 528038 OS Y co-ord: 178732 (Latitude: 51.492531 Longitude: -0.155464)
Last edited 2011-06-12 11:24:03 (version 9; diff). List all versions.