Found nearby Birmingham cathedral and square, The Botanist on Temple Street has soon become known for its plethora of cocktails, quirky tableware and its trademarked hanging kebabs. Part of the eccentric New World Trading Co. the Birmingham offering continues the whimsical theme with a dash of inspiration from all things horticultural.
We went along on Saturday night and the bar was already booming by 7pm; I have to say I was pretty surprised. Thankfully the seating area is out of the way, with glass dividers that let you soak up the merry atmosphere whilst still being about to chat to your dining companions. The decor conveys the same botanical theme with framed plant life, rustic wooden tables and lampshades reminiscent of terrariums.
We begun the evening with a couple of their acclaimed cocktails. I went for the Strawberry & Mint Martini (£7.50) whilst my other half opted for the Whiskey Thyme (£7.95), feeling rather smug as I'd predicted he would choose that. The strawberry and mint was a pleasing combination of mint, strawberry purée, Green Mark vodka, strawberry liqueur, sugar and lemon. This was definitely one for those with a sweet tooth, although the mint and citrus slightly offset the sweetness, albeit only slightly. I loved it. The whiskey drink was rather like an old fashioned with hints of floral, since it was muddled from thyme, jasmine syrup, Jameson’s whiskey and lemon zest.
For starters I went for the Asparagus Soup (£4.25) and my boyfriend the Basket of Chicken Wings (£5.95). I'm pretty sure since I stopped eating and cooking chicken he uses it as an excuse to eat chicken at any opportunity.
So asparagus is probably my favourite vegetable (every foodie has one right?) and since I'd never tried it in soup form I grabbed my chance with both hands. Lovingly presented, safe to say I lapped up this creamy, flavoursome soup with my crusty bread in minutes. Totally putting this on my to-cook list. Most importantly, it wasn't "just another boring soup starter." I can't comment on the chicken apart from the waitress recommended the chipotle to my spice-mad boyfriend (another thing I don't make enough of, poor guy). He absolutely devoured the crispy chicken wings with the moreish mayo. 10/10 for presentation too.
For mains we just had to go for the hanging kebabs. With a choice of beef, halloumi, prawn, lamb or chicken, I went for the prawn (£13.50) whilst my boyfriend choose the halloumi (£10.50). Glazed in a sweet, chilli and garlic butter which drizzled onto your well seasoned chips, these were a real show piece. You couldn't help but goggle every time someone at a nearby table was presented with one. Really nicely cooked and great flavours, my only complaint is I would have liked to see more prawns on there.
And now onto the most delicious Bruce Bogtrotter-esque cake and a heavenly sticky toffee pud. Both desserts were just as indulgent as they looked. And again, I want those plates in my life.
Altogether this was a brilliant meal. Our waitress, I believe was called Alice, was super friendly the whole time and didn't even suspect I was reviewing the experience. As well as the grub, I especially thought the decor and layout of the restaurant worked really well, with an individual feel to the restaurant and a genuine friendly vibe.
Have you been to The Botanist? What cocktail would you order?
Oh and if you're looking for the Chelsea restaurant, which is another venue entirely, view my review on The Botanist in London.
12-14 temple street
Parking? Your best bet is the Town Hall car park (B5 4AF), which is a set rate of £3.50 after 6pm and is about a 7 minute walk away. If you're travelling by train, you're in luck as New Street station is even closer.
Note: We dined as guests of The Botanist. All photographs and opinions my own. And the sticky toffee pud, that's mine too.