October 15th, 2015

The Botanist Is Growing On Me

By Yvonne Goldsmith-Rybka, Viva Lifestyle Magazine

On this, my second visit to The Botanist on Deansgate, I had a lot more time to soak up the surroundings and fully appreciate the concept behind this modern day ‘pub'. A collaboration between Living Ventures and New World Trading Company (their other being The Oast House, Spinningfields) whose idea, simply put, is to offer a wide audience a quirky, accessible, comfortable modern spin on a local. Judging by the numbers on my arrival, they've definitely hit the nail on the head; and it's a stark contrast to Living Ventures other stylish, more fine dining offers.

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The interior feels like a giant eccentric greenhouse, with fabulously camp coloured jam jar chandeliers, what I can only describe as a vine walkway leading ceremoniously to the kitchen pass, and every nook and cranny full to the brim with random knick-knacks. Aside from these oddities, the space is packed with tables and seating to accommodate the masses and large parties are especially well catered for . Even though I was getting this overall ‘catering to all' theme, I was still a little surprised to find the menu itself is pub grub (with a little more panache): home comfort food and very fairly priced at that.

I went along with my stylist friend, Paula McNamara, and we started with a couple of their cocktails; her Apricot and Ginger Sling a better choice than my Watermelon Martini which tasted slightly of washing up liquid (and incidentally the only cocktail I have ever not really enjoyed in any of the Living Ventures bars - sorry!) I'm glad to say everything went uphill from here. We drank a bottle of South African I Want You Chenin Blanc, a lovely name and a lovely wine! Our Salt and pepper onion petals were a very tasty and naughty treat before we tucked into baked Camembert, okay slightly boring to order I know but always SO good; and sardines in a tin which were a bit of fun served with a bottle of hot sauce.

For main courses we ordered from the Home Comforts section to truly embrace the pub experience. Cauliflower cheese pie was creamy with beautifully buttery pastry but we would have preferred a stronger cheese; and my hake fillet with its' parsley sauce a real blast from my eighties past, aye aye Captain Birdseye! Desserts were again homely and nostalgic, with a boozy rum baba for me (obviously) and a lavish and creamy sticky toffee pud for Paula. Washed down with some rather good Irish coffees which even Paula of the Irish persuasion agreed, and these are very hard to find in Manchester!

I can't help admire these operators and their Midas touch; they truly understand Manchester and their customers with each venue offering something different and unique from the others. One constant throughout is the high level of service and efficiency and The Botanist is no exception. It reminds me of those TV ads, it does what it says on the tin and really does offer a new spin on the modern day pub to the city. I didn't notice the music as there were so many people in, but I know they have regular live music which I wouldn't mind heading back for. This place is a real grower....

 

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