Sloane Square’s Botanist is one of the upmarket ventures of gastropub-meisters the ETM Group, the force behind the Gun, the Well and other fashionable venues. In accordance with the location, however, it eschews any pubbiness in favour of a cocktail-bar-cum-restaurant feel.
Shining metalwork and creamy leather dominate in the buzzy bar, while tall windows and subtle lighting make the dining room an airy, comfortable space, artfully decorated with images of botanical specimens. Service was bright and charming.
The menu makes an appealing read, and our meal was, well, pleasant, yet nothing more: the kind of thing you’d expect in any half-decent gastropub, but at a substantially higher price. Fresh asparagus came with a ‘vinaigrette’ that was really a bland herb dressing, while a prawn and herb cocktail – one of a few retro-Brit favourites on the list – was, again, inoffensive, but served too cold. Duck confit with bacon and puy lentils had decent flavour, and a rather potato-heavy salmon fishcake with spinach and beurre blanc was unexceptionally enjoyable too.
The hefty flash-the-cash wine list adds substantially to the bill, although prices don’t seem to deter the area’s recession-proof clientele.