Summer is always such an exciting time when it comes to restaurants in the City. New menus are launched. Chefs and mixologists come alive again with new creations and additions to their menus. We headed to The Botanist a few weeks ago to sample their new food menu which was delicious. So when I was asked back to try out their new floristry and foraging cocktail menu I jumped at the chance.
If you’ve never visited The Botanist Newcastle before then you might not know that they not only have single handily the best views of Grey Street. They also boast a gorgeous Garden Terrace. Complete with cute shelters with outside bar and in the Winter, snuggly blankets. Fortunately, when we arrived it was dry and sunny, this is Newcastle though and you’ve got to be ready for all eventualities!
Watering the hole
Greeted with a ‘Watering Can’ Cocktail served in yes, a watering can and drank from a little bucket this fruity number was compared to ice pops by the lovely Hello Jennifer Helen. If you can imagine the taste it’s a blend of strawberry puree, fresh mint and cucumber, muddled with vanilla syrup and a generous splash of Tanqueray gin.
Whilst we were enjoying our first drink the ball to my chain, the head to my ache, the Ant to my Dec and BFF influencer Pixie and I enjoyed a sumptuous hand and arm massage. This was from the lovely ladies at the house of Jo Malone in Fenwick’s beauty hall. Opting for a Myrrh & Tonka scent with Lime Basil & Mandarin body & hand lotion massaged into my arms I instantly felt relaxed. The ladies were talking about their amazing products which I’m a lover of anyway and how their fine fragrances fit in perfectly with the Botany theme. Using the same ingredients featured in their products as The Botanist use in their cocktails.
Jo Malone & Cocktails. This is good!
After we had all enjoyed massages from the fabulous Jo Malone ladies we were then introduced to Northern Wilds, who are experienced will food foragers and hunter-gatherers. Linus, the owner of Northern Wilds has lived with his wife Louise forage for a living. They naturally-source sustainable heating and cooking fuels, producing their own vegetables. They raise pigs and chickens and gathering provisions from the wild. It was an honour for us to sample some of the plants he had brought along for the mixologists at The Botanist to use to create off-menu cocktails for us. Elderflower, a favourite of mine was there in abundance, with a very aniseed like plant which was amazing. The whole plant was edible including the hollow stalk which was later used as a straw.
As we chatted about the different plants, herbs and other items found when foraging the rain began to bounce. Literally off the tin roof of the outdoor bar.
Always count on rain
Ducking undercover we all dashed into a wooden hut with a round table where we were served Cumberland and pork chipolatas with honey grain mustard. Crispy whitebait served with saffron mayo. Pork scratchings with sweet apple sauce and of course my favourite Green Olives.
Sheltering from the typical Newcastle rain, symbolic of our football team, never knowing if we’re coming or going. We were then served up a delicious plant pot. Complete with smoke and lots of ice this Sour was a rich red in colour and super sweet. One of my personal favourite cocktails of the evening it was wickedly moreish. I enjoyed the theatrics of this cocktail but did wonder what dry ice had to do with botany? I sincerely hope that The Botanist isn’t trying to compete with The Alchemist across the road. It doesn’t need to. In my honest opinion the potting shed and cobbled together garden props supersede all those smoke and mirrors. Stay true to yourself Botanist, that’s why we all love you so!
Pimms Teacup. I absolutely love Pimms but this was probably my least favourite cocktail of the evening. Once you had got over the Alchemy of the dry ice we all found it very medicinal. Not like a traditional Pimms and probably collectively our least favourite of them all. This Pimms, cranberry, poppy liqueur and lemon with breakfast tea was, behind the theatrics of the smoking spout (which resulted in me singing Tale as Old as Time). It really was not that delicious compared to the others in which we had tasted over the evening.
The drink of the moment
To finish off the evening carafes of G&T were served. With mint and fresh orange to garnish they really were the perfect end to an enjoyable evening. Let’s pray for lots of sunshine and you’ll certainly find me up on the terrace working my way through the entire menu repeatedly this Summer (minus the Pimms!). You should come join us!
Have you checked out the new menu? I’d love to find out what your favourite cocktail is. Drop a comment below and let me know!