A REVIEW OF THE NEWLY OPENED BOTANIST PUB/RESTAURANT IN YORK
15-19 Stonegate, York, YO1 8ZW
The York’s Botanist is officially open for business. Situated on the famously quaint Stonegate, the Botanist takes over Mulberry Hall with a welcoming yet stylish exterior on one of York’s most historic streets.
Upon entering you are immediately greeted by friendly staff and a cosy interior created by warming lights and an almost ethereal decor. With ivory climbing the walls and homely furnishings, you know this isn’t your typical pub. What is trying to be achieved is the modern dining ‘experience’; everything from the lighting and staff uniforms to the food itself is meticulously crafted to create something just a little bit different from everything else. It has to be said that the Botanist York does have a certain grounded charm which fits in nicely with the Yorkshire milieu.
The bulk of the food menu consists of deli-inspired boards, rotisserie and BBQ-based meals, with pub classic such as fish&chips and steak and stout pie thrown in for good measure. The menu is very extensive so if you panic easily in spite of an abundance of choice I recommend checking out the online menu before venturing in. I decided to go entirely with the recommendations of the staff:
Plump, seeded (be careful) and very tasty
Nibbles: Cumberland and pork chipolatas with honey grain mustard
Plentiful and delicious, could easily have made a starter for me
Nibbles: Pork crackling
Great presentation with a little wheelbarrow holding the chilli, spring onion and sweet apple sauce, some very well cooked crackling.
Starter: Gambas Pil Pil
King Prawns and bell peppers cooked in chilli, garlic and olive oil
The portion size of this starter is very generous so make sure you leave some room for dessert! This particular starter was really quite nice, tasty and with a subtle kick a good start to the meal.
Starter: Baked camembert
Although taste-wise it couldn’t really be faulted, the baked camembert was quite filling so this could easily be a sharing starter.
Main: Chicken hanging kebab
The hanging kebabs are a Botanist speciality and for a reason. With great presentation and great flavours you can see why this is a popular dish. A pot of sweet chilli and ginger sauce is overturned over the top of the hanging apparatus which then seeps down through, covering the meat. Fab!
Occasionally I find that some restaurants, unless they are fish&chip restaurants, can be quite stingy with portion sizes. However this one was plentiful! And also very tasty!
Dessert: Sticky Toffee pudding
By the end of the meal my friend and I were ALMOST defeated by fullness but we were determined to sample at least one dessert so we went for the sticky toffee pudding to share. This has always been a particular dessert favourite of mine and this one did not disappoint. It was warm, perfectly sized and delicious. Personally, I like to have the sauce on the side so I can douse the pudding myself, but overall it was a treat.
Now onto my favourite part of dining out: the beverages. If you’re a fan of cocktails, this is the place for you. The attention to detail not only with decoration but with the choice of alcohol is remarkable. We really do live in a time where we want to be impressed with our drinks; what with the introduction of molecular mixology and an ever increasing number of spirit distilleries. The cocktail bar has something for everyone and they are cropping up everywhere, all the time. The Botanist claims a “world-famous selection of botanical cocktails” and whether or not this is the case, they definitely do taste good. The issue I take with some bars’ cocktails is that often they are a composition of 90% fruit juice and 10% cheap alcohol. Cocktails of course can be fruity but this flavour is there to compliment the alcohol, not to mask it. The cocktails my friend and I sampled certainly achieved the right balance.
Left to right: Blackberry & Mint Julep, Lavender Aviation, Raspberry Mojito, Raspberry and Sage Spritz, Raspberry Disaronno Sour, The Botanist. (We seem to really like raspberry)
The only slight issue I had was that I would have liked a little more lavender in the Lavender Aviation. I really like the botanical theme and want it to come through clearly. However, overall we were very happy with our drinks.
If however you have (unfortunately) been designated as your group’s taxi driver for the night there are plenty of mocktails to choose from. I would recommend the Raspberry, Grape & Elderflower Cooler! Or, if you’re neither driver nor a fan of cocktails the Botanist boasts “world famous beers and ales”. Finally, the gin. There is a great selection of approximately 11 gins that can easily cater for enthusiasts. The majority of them are Northern which is fantastic to see; the most local to York would be Masons Yorkshire Gin!
The Botanist is not just a restaurant however, there is a spacious bar area which will host daily live evening gigs as well as lazy Sunday afternoon sessions. Overall I very much enjoyed my experience at the Botanist. The food, drinks, atmosphere and service was great – shoutout to our fantastic server Christina! Definitely a place for a relaxed evening or even a date night.