Saturday, 24 February 2018

The Botanist's Vegan Menu

Last night, I was invited to check out the latest additions to the The Botanist's menu - their vegan options. With Veganuary done and dusted, they're keeping on a selection of vegan dishes 'veganually' so there's plant based options all year round.

Before I get on with the post, I just want to say sorry the photo quality isn't amazing - the lighting was quite dark!

I think it's great that restaurant chains are taking this food 'movement' (cringe) seriously. I truly think that plant-based options will become more and more mainstream and accessible and the norm as the environmental impacts of meat and poor factory farming ethics for animal products are more widely discussed. Anyway. Preaching over.

It's also nice to be able to go somewhere that's not exclusively vegan - I get that full on vegan only places can be off-putting, especially if you're trying to get your meat-loving boyfriend to go with you.

So, on to the food.

We got the truffle mushoom ciabatta and falafel to share. The truffle mushrooms were delicious. Meaty mushrooms, tasty onions and a lightly toasted ciabatta. Would make an ideal brunch dish! The sesame coated falafel were an absolute winner too - with whole chickpeas in, and an almost crunchy outer shell, they were so tasty. The peri peri dip was right up my street too, really spicy and tomato-ey.

James and I both said that they didn't taste 'vegan' - I think a common misconception of vegan / veggie food is that it's lacking something, second best, not quite 'right'. It tends to focus on what's 'missing' (so say), rather than the dish in its own merit. These dishes definitely did not taste like they were lacking in anything.

I went for the Malaysian vegetable curry with coriander rice for my main. It was fragrant, fresh and full of flavour. One of those comfort dishes that feels wholesome and tasty at the same time. The veg included baby new potatoes, peppers and courgette with chilli and beansprouts. I love spice, and this did not disappoint - if you're not a fan of spice maybe ask them to hold back on the chilli here!

James went rogue and got the chicken burger with sweet potato fries. Classic vegan dish. The sweet potato fries were delicious, and he got cheese and jalapenos and said it was great, so you can't argue with that!

We also got a side of their tenderstem broccoli to share which was delicious - would recommend this!

We had a smooth pinot noir to wash it all down, before choosing dessert. James got (non vegan) sticky toffee pudding (I don't like sticky toffee pudding, so I was fine with that...), and I opted for the banana, peanut butter and chocolate icecream.

This was the only thing that tasted a little 'vegan' and like it was lacking some cream - still really tasty and exactly the type of treat I'd make at home but with the other courses, I'd not felt remotely like I was being served a 'special' menu, whereas this did (only a little bit, I'd like to add. It certainly didn't stop me eating it all!).

I thought the menu was great and I was really impressed with each course. I'll definitely be back and hats off to The Botanist for making vegan dishes accessible all year round.

I'd also like to say that, perhaps quite naively, my previous thoughts on The Botanist were that it was a little bit 'chainy' - however, the MediaCity branch was LUSH. Live music, a load of plants and really bustling atmosphere - shout out to our waitress Jas who was an absolute babe too. I'm definitely a convert and will be back very soon!

Also full disclosure - as you might have guessed The Botanist invited me to try this new menu so it was complimentary, however, you know me by now, all opinions are my real honest truth.

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