I just had to jump on and give a quick review of our meal last night at the Botanist in Marlow. It was the second night in a week The Mister and I had been out without the children 😱 such rebels. That’s probably it for the year now to be honest. We’re a bit sick of each other now.
The Botanist is part of a chain of restaurants (what would you call them? a field of botanists? A shrub of botanists?) spread out across the country. I think on last count there were 19 of them. We were kindly gifted a meal at The Botanist in the beautiful Thames town of Marlow as they had launched a new menu, which is handy as it’s only 10 minutes from home.
It’s right on the high street, but there’s plenty of parking on meters or in a pay and display car park behind the restaurant. That’s always my first concern, how far will I have to walk once I’ve stuffed my face and drunk too much 😂
The facade of the restaurant is immediately welcoming. Metal signs, plants, chalk boards, it’s right up my street. On their website they state that the original concept was to feel like you were stepping into a secret garden, and they’ve definitely achieved that.
The restaurant goes back further than you think it would, and everywhere you look, there’s something else to see. Trinkets hanging from the ceiling, a beautiful fireplace in the centre of the room, mirrors and plants everywhere. It has the potential from that description to be a little bit like and old Romany caravan, all dark and cluttered, but it absolutely isn’t. The high, vaulted ceilings give a great feeling of space, without it feeling hollow and echoey (is that a word? Echoey?) and you feel a bit like you’ve stepped into another world.
The staff we met were all lovely, happy to chat and gave a great level of attention. We didn’t feel rushed, even when my husband took about 3 hours to decide what he wanted to drink…In his defence, the drinks menus are huge. They have a whole menu dedicated to Ale, and a massive gin selection which made me very happy. The drinks are fairly reasonably priced (for Marlow) with cocktails being around £8 and a glass of prosecco at £6.75. Slightly more than a pub, but comparable with other restaurants in the area.
You can view their menus here Menus
Now the important bit, the food. The menu isn’t massive, but there’s definitely something for everyone. To start we ordered the scotch egg, and because I’m obsessed with marks and Spencer’s popcorn cauliflower, we tried the buffalo cauliflower. I’m normally a carnivore through and through, so to even consider a vegetarian meal is a big deal for me 😂
The scotch egg was perfect. The sausage meat was perfectly seasoned (I know my sausages) and the egg was the perfect amount of runny. It came on a bed of fried onions with herbs which was really yummy too. I was kind of gutted we’d decided to share, I didn’t want to give the other half up.
The buffalo cauliflower was good too. All the flavours were there. In my head, because of the popcorn cauliflower, I expected it to be crunchy and it wasn’t. It still tasted nice, and the dip was lovely. I let The Mister eat the celery because that’s the devils food.
For our mains we went for one of their hanging skewers, the pork one. They have 8 different kinds of hanging skewer, including vegetarian (halloumi) and vegan (tofurkey sausage). We also picked a buttermilk chicken burger as I know when we come back with the kids that’s what the boy will order so I wanted to check it out for him. They both come with a side. He chose chunky chips and I went for the sweet chilli chips. I definitely won. They were amazing! Perfectly fried and drizzled with a sweet chilli sauce, and fresh chopped onions and chillis. The chunky chips were not so good. Some of them were a little under done so they were a bit hard in the middle. I probably wouldn’t order those again. They also do regular fries, sweet potato fries, rice or salad.
The pork was great. Pork can be a bit dry when it’s been barbecued, but this was spot on. Charred on the outside and melt in your mouth meat. The burger was also pretty good, although it fell apart when I tried to cut it in half. That said, what sort of monster cuts a burger though? (My husband, that’s who. He eats them with a bloody knife and fork 😱 freak) The batter on the chicken was crunchy, and really tasty. We didn’t order any other sides because we still had dessert to get through, but I was quite tempted by the red cabbage coleslaw and the corn…
Now dessert. I never normally eat a third course, I’m too busy downing the gin and the cocktails. Also being lactose intolerant, I adore anything with cream in much more than it adores me. However, confident that the car was only a couple of minutes away, I was sure I could get back to it before any adverse affects started occurring 😂 We were recommended the sharing dessert and although I was tempted by the hanging brownie, one lot of food on a stick was probably enough, so we went with the recommendation. I’m glad we did. We got a magical box of goodies. All laid out like a pretty garden box, it fitted perfectly with the whole theme.
On initial bite I thought the waffles in the ice cream sandwiches were a bit dry, but once you got into them they were just right. The apple and cherry fool had the texture of baby food but tasted amazing. In the plant pot was apparently a salted caramel and biscoff muffin, but there was definitely cheesecake in there too. The Nutella donuts were like little balls of molten lava, as my husband found out when he stole one while I was trying to take a picture. Serves him right. Once they’d cooled down they were delicious with the caramel sauce. That little watering can was filled with dry ice, so when they serve, you get a bit of drama too. I love all that over the top-ness. All in all it made me very happy.
We also tried a couple of non alcoholic cocktails. I know right, me? Non alcoholic? Again, my kids will be all over these so I thought I’d suss them out. I don’t even know what we had now, a botanical something (that came in a test tube shaped like a penis so that will definitely be a winner with the kids) I liked it so the alcoholic version of that is definitely on my list for next time. The other one was a raspberry something or other. It came in a plant pot, again with dry ice, so I got my double whammy on the drama front. It was really sweet, I’m not sure if the alcoholic version is the same, and I’m also not sure how much room is left for actual drink once you take out all the ice and the big vial for the dry ice to sit it.
All in all our meal would have cost us around £80, so not a super cheap night out, but definitely worth it. It’s definitely one of the nicest nights out I’ve had in a while. So much so, I’ve already booked to go back for my birthday in November 😁
If you’d like to try it too, the lovely people at the Botanist have given me a link to share to give you a third off your food. Simply book here before the 8th November A third off food at The Botanist Marlow