Cultivating Cuisine at The Botanist
We discover the gastronomic delights of Kew Green
The Botanist is one of those places I drive past vowing to stop and go into some time but never quite get around to. The substantial site occupies a corner plot overlooking the picturesque Kew Green on one side and the junction of Kew Road and Mortlake Road the other. Although it’s a mere stone’s throw from Kew Gardens, I doubt it gets a huge amount of passing trade during the day which is a great shame as it’s a wonderful place.
I met a girlfriend there for lunch there this week. I cycled from Chiswick and she walked from Brentford, both journeys took a matter of minutes.
Although an undeniably a huge space, The Botanist manages to remain welcoming carrying off the dark wooden floor, tables and leather sofa look with aplomb although we chose to sit outside in the small but perfectly functional courtyard and make the most of the glorious sunshine.
The Summer Menu is refreshingly uncomplicated made up of just enough choices in the categories of Snacking and Sharing, Starters and Light Bites priced from £4.25, Farmhouse Sandwiches from £5.50, Mains from £9.00 and Daily Specials.
To start we chose Potted Cornish Crab with Melba Toast £6.50 and Atlantic Tiger Prawns with Lemon and Aioli £5.50.
My prawns were generous in size and drenched in a garlic butter that packed quite a powerful punch. Not a dish I would recommend for a first date! My friend’s Potted Cornish Crab had an abundance of chives a nice rough texture which she said made it far more interesting to eat . The lightly toasted bread (we weren't certain it was quite melba) accompanied it very well, without distracting from the crab.
We ummed and ahhed over our main courses for quite some time as they all sounded good. Eventually I chose the Goat’s Cheese Salad with Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Rocket and Minted Broad Beans £9.00 and my friend the Slow Roasted Belly of Pork with Bombay potatoes, Cider and Calvados Sauce £11.50.
My salad was like summer on a plate with a couple of asparagus spears thrown in for good measure (or perhaps to detract from the lack of purple sprouts on the broccoli?) either way it was a delight, a perfect lunchtime dish.
The pork belly was also spot on and tasted of pork and nothing but. As their name suggested, the potatoes were slightly curried which my friend felt was totally unnecessary given the quality of the pork. If she had one complaint about the dish, it would be that the portion was on the too large side nevertheless she struggled on and cleared her plate!
To drink we shared a bottle of house white, a light and easy to drink Italian priced at £13.35 diluted with great handfuls of ice.
An Americano £1.95 each rounded off the meal bringing the bill to £49.75. Whilst a bit on the expensive side for a weekday lunch, the food we enjoyed merited the price tag.
For my next visit, I have my eye on the Cornish Rope-Grown Mussels £6.00 which is much more of an everyday price as are the Farmhouse Sandwiches that come with a portion of French Fries all around the £6.00.
The Botanist is the sister pub of Chiswick’s Crown and Anchor so if you like their style, the stroll across Kew Bridge will be well worth your while.
June 24, 2009