The Botanist in Marlow: Restaurant review
PUBLISHED: 16:24 03 May 2017 | UPDATED: 16:24 03 May 2017
Prepare for hidden treasures and that a gorgeous décor is somehow outshone by dishes arriving at the table, says Jan Raycroft
There are secrets behind the façade of The Botanist in West Street, and they go way beyond the ingredients of some of the more unusual offerings you’ll find on the menu here. Take a few steps and you come to a beautiful and spacious dining area where the eye is drawn to the intricate tiles, no the chimney like centrepiece and greenery, wait, it’s the decorative touches to the seating. And it seems to go on and on, with enough space between tables to allow for an intimate atmosphere.
Wander a bit more and you realise there are no fewer than three spots for outdoor drinking and dining, from cosy little corners to a more spacious, pretty ‘cottage garden’ area. With all this it’s hard to believe you are just a few steps from ‘the Sainsburys car park’. The last time I was in a place as attractive as this it was easy to come to the conclusion that the “Ooooh… look!” approach to the décor was possibly a smoke and mirrors attempt to counter the barely adequate food.
But this is certainly not the case with The Botanist, where the best of the flavours and textures turn up on the menu. After all, it’s in Marlow, a champion of top class foodie treats, and is part of a smallish, almost exclusive chain. Another one is set to open in Reading this year.
If you’re lunching and the soup of the day is cauliflower, you can’t go wrong with this oily and melting concoction. For mains we tried one of their rightly lauded hanging kebabs – the jerk salmon version – which was definitely a treat for both the eye and taste buds.
The deli board is done very cleverly. You simply pick four items from a long and luscious list including salads, poached salmon, four top classes cheeses, chicken, prosciutto or honey glazed ham, roasted red and yellow peppers… oh we could go on and on. Anyway, the editor chose this option and being gluten-free did without the no doubt delicious fougasse bread that comes with it. The Botanist doesn’t have gluten free bread as a replacement, but the disappointment was shortlived as they instead produced some crispy fries to turn it into a feast.
Portions are ample so, like us you might not get as far as desserts, but we spied on other diners in raptures over the likes of white chocolate and peanut butter mousse. As for the drinks – this is a cocktail fan’s treasure trove (how about Thai chilli crush featuring Tanqueray gin and green apple liqueur or spectacular takes on Martini). The mocktails are splendid, too, right from homemade lemonade to more exotic varieties.
The Botanist, 48 West Street, Marlow SL7 2NB; 01628 488688; thebotanist.uk.com