My experience at Botantist started right at the hostess stand, when she greeted me with a big smile and helped put away my raincoat, she even helped hold my DSLR while I struggled with my jacket! I took a quick look around the room, it was absolutely stunning. They have paid incredible detail to every little thing, from the plants, to the lighting, to little decor on the bar tops. The room buzzed with conference go-ers at the Champagne Lounge to my left, and business people at the bar to my right. There's even a VIP room you can book for a special occasion! I was then whisked away towards my table, and along the way, I caught myself "WOW-ing" a few times just looking at the abundant indoor plants surrounding the dining room!
All the names of the cocktails are super fun, like "Can't Beat a Root", "Yes Whey", and "What the Flower" were some of my favourites. Our night started with trying 3 different cocktails: Poetry in Motion, Apple Seed Lane, and the Lillemonade (THIS is a fun one to say). All 3 cocktails were delicious and we gulped them down quickly! Along with our cocktails, our server also brought out their special seeded bread. If you know me, you know I'm not typically a bread person, but this was amazing! Together with the whipped butter, each bite was a little taste of heaven. Bread with seeds have no calories right?
Our server then surprised us with a little amuse bouche - the White Gazpacho (which is on their menu). The White Gazpacho was very refreshing with side stripe shrimp, cucumber and little delightful balls of grapes! I can see myself ordering this a lot in the summer!
Next up is our appetizers to share. We order 3 of the top recommended appies, the Heirloom Tomato Salad, Hand-Cut Tagliatelle, and Nova Scotia Lobster Tail. The tomatoes of the Heirloom Tomato Salad is grown hydroponically, which means they're grown without soil using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent, how cool is that? This dish tasted so fresh, and the flavours combined so well together with the burrata & hibiscus vinaigrette.
Have you ever had Lobster Tail as an appetizer? Me neither. But there's always a first right? When I saw this on the menu, I couldn't pass it up, and it did not disappoint. The flavours blended together masterfully. The light fluffy lobster foam pair beautifully with the rich flavour of the lobster tail. The lobster foam reminded me of a lobster bisque. To even out the flavours, they've added chopped up bits of fennel to give the dish more texture - Such a balanced dish!
I tried the Hand-cut Tagliatelle next, and WOW was it exquisite. The hand-cut tagliatelle is so fresh, and I love seeing the not so perfectly cut pasta. I'm also a huge fan of foraged mushrooms,, it went so well in this dish with the creamy and rich sauce. This came in the perfect portion, not leaving you weighed down and too full for the main course.
Our main courses are here, and I am so glad I was hungry enough to have room to savour my entree. I ordered the Lamb Saddle in Medium Rare. The flavours blended really well together. I loved the perfectly made Lamb, I've had plenty of lamb in my lifetime, and this one was soooo flavourful and juicy, I wanted more of it! The mushrooms, broccoli and baby carrots along with the au jus were absolutely perfect!
I didn't get to try the Sablefish or the Halibut but was told they were amazingly delicious as well. I mean, just look at how the Halibut came! The squid ink on top of the Halibut was pure art! Botanist has made my job as a photographer easy, every plate came out looking perfect and like a piece of art. It would be a challenge to take a bad photo of it! And we all know, we eat with our eyes first! Wait... I did get to try one of the skin-off cherry tomatoes, and I have to say, it's one of the best tomatoes I've ever had! Because the skin of the tomato has been taken off, the meat had the chance to soak up all the flavours, and when you pop one of those cherry tomatoes, you got a mouthful of rich & well rounded flavour. Yes, I am just talking about a little cherry tomato here!
When dessert came around, I was ready to explode, so I passed on them, but my friends decided to order the Strawberries with Chocolate & Almost Cream, as well as the Beetroot Cake with Hazelnut and Gewürztraminer Gel. I opted for a delicious ice wine that Jill had recommended to me, it had a fruit forward taste of apricot, and full bodied. It was the perfect night cap for me. When their desserts did come though, I couldn't help myself and had a sample of each. Of course, I had to try the Gewürztraminer gel, I've never heard of such a thing, let along try it! It tasted like jello to me. The beetroot cake didn't taste like what I had anticipated, I had imagined it to taste like Beets but it tasted more like a delightful fluffy cake!
I had an absolutely great night at Botanist, from the atmosphere, to the service, to the aesthetically beautiful and delicious food, everything was a 10/10 to me. It's completely unlike any restaurants you're used to at a hotel, this is an experience all on its own, and should almost be considered as a stand-alone restaurant you would go for a birthday celebration, date night, or just a regular Thursday night out!
I'll definitely be back, and I'll see you there!
Words & Photos: Jenn Chan