I had never been to Broadgate Circle, prior to visiting The Botanist, but I had heard good things. As it was a Saturday night, our table was booked under the ‘After Dark’ experience – a set menu, unlimited drinks (well prosecco, Bellinis or wine) and live music. What better way to start a Saturday night?
Upon arrival, it was so busy outside. The weather was gorgeous so the daytime drinkers will still outside in force. It was lovely, with bar tables and deck chairs to relax on – and so light. It was a lot darker inside, but the atmosphere was still really relaxed. The bar was directly in the middle, like an island and we sat towards the back of the restaurant. There’s a mix of booths and tables, but as soon as we were seated, I felt comfortable and ready to enjoy the evening entertainment.
I began with a peach Bellini as we perused the menus – and as our table was perfect for people watching, I noticed that a lot of other diners were taking advantage of the deal. I booked our table through Emerald Street who were promoting the experience at £40pp (usually £50pp) and this included a three course meal and the drinks for two hours from your table time. We managed to get an extra 15 minutes out of it, as we arrived early and were immediately seated.
The singer was absolutely fabulous and it was a shame we weren’t sitting closer to appreciate it more. He sang a real range of genres and eras, from Prince to Justin Timberlake and it made the evening so much more special. People were even singing along and just soaking up the atmosphere. Sometimes live music ends up overpowering everything around you, but this wasn’t the case at all and we were able to hold a conversation, while also appreciating the singer’s talents.
To start I had the crispy squid with sriracha mayonnaise. The squid itself was very good, not too chewy, nor stringy; but the spicy crispy coating was unreal! The portion sizes are huge, so I was pretty much full before the main course came out. That didn’t stop me having a couple of glasses of prosecco, though.
For the main course, I panicked and chose the longhorn burger with cheese and bacon – which was decent enough and served in a brioche bun. Again, the patty itself was huge and the fillings were stacked high. I wasn’t a fan of the fries, which were quite salty and not that well cooked. But kudos for the burger, it was fresh, juicy and tasted pretty much like steak. I’m a huge lover of pickles as well, so that on the top made it a winner for me. I do regret not using the kilo pot of mussels or the crab linguini – maybe next time?
After a few more flutes of prosecco and a Bellini for good measure, we decided to plump for dessert – and boy was it good! I had the sticky toffee pudding with cornflake ice cream (vanilla ice cream topped with crunchy nut cornflakes). I wish I hadn’t been so full, or else I’d have demolished it. The pudding was light and sauce, sweet and salty. The ice cream was also light and milky and it was just an all-round good dessert.
The food, drinks, entertainment and atmosphere was good, but the only slight negative was the service. We were the only table who had to ask for more drinks, while the tables around us were having theirs refilled. We also had to wait 40 minutes to get the bill, but one of the waiters was very apologetic and gave us a couple of drinks to make up for it.
I would definitely go back to After Dark at The Botanist, or even try bottomless brunch. It’s a great place to go to catch up with girlfriends, relax with family or even go on date. And even better when you can enjoy drinks outside in the courtyard, beforehand.
Love, Lucy xx