Exposed brick walls painted with crawling leaves of moss and fern green as plants sit propagating in display cases. Antiques and trinkets hang from the ceilings and floral-themed cocktails decorate dinner tables. The Botanist is one of my favourite bars to visit, whether its for a family lunch date or stopping for a drink between shops.
Whilst I usually visit the Manchester branch on Deansgate, this time Jake and I visited the Botanist at Alderley Edge, nestled in the small Cheshire village known for being the chosen home for many a famous face, including the Beckham’s, Denise Welch and over 350 millionaires.
Our servers were incredibly friendly, seating us straight away and going through the menus with us. Despite being a busy Saturday evening, our waitress took the time to recommend drinks she liked to help me make my choices. The drinks menu has changed a lot since my last visit, as my go-to was always a Peach and Apple Pot or a Miracle Bulb.
Now, the cocktail menu is divided into three sections ‘fruit and floral’, ‘fresh and herbaceous’ and ‘citrus and spice’, making it easier for customers to work out what they’ll enjoy based on flavour preferences. I opted for drinks from the ‘fruit and floral’ section, including the strawberry and elderflower mojito, and The Botanist pornstar, served with vodka, passion fruit liqueur, peashoot and rose cordial, pineapple and a shot of prosecco. During our night I also ordered a gin and lemonade, which are all £9.50 for a double, though I hadn’t spotted the price for these on the menu – with cocktails costing average cocktail prices at £7-9, it’s well worth sticking to them.
To start, Jake and I shared the crunchy pork crackling with chilli jam and ,cheesy garlic bread. The garlic bread came served in a miniature picnic basket baked with cheddar and mozzarella, garnished with rosemary. The £5.25 vegetarian starter was absolutely beautiful with the chilli jam from the pork crackling, and offered a very satisfying cheese pull. The crunchy pork pieces are great paired with the Peroni Red from the beer list, and would be a great bar snack if you weren’t staying for food. It was an excellent choice of starters from the incredibly tempting menu – I’m looking at you baked camembert sharer.
On to mains, Jake ordered the black angus sirloin steak for £19.50 – a 9oz chargrilled steak served with mushrooms, chips and a peppercorn sauce. For me, how could I not have one of The Botanist’s famed Hanging Kebabs, which so many restaurants have attempted to replicate. I ordered the chicken and chorizo kebab marinated in lemon and herbs, and switched the smoked paprika oil out for garlic oil.
These are served on expertly designed stands atop which sits the tub of oil to pour down onto the kebab. This then drips from the meat onto the bowl of chips below adding flavour from the marinated chicken and chorizo, as well as the garlic oil itself. In other restaurants, kebabs like this are served with peppers, veggies and onions, and token titbits of meat but The Botanist don’t scrimp on their chicken and chorizo – in fact, I couldn’t finish it. I also option upped and got the basked of flatbread, which came with chilli jam and crème fraîche for an extra £2.95.
We took a peek at the dessert menu, but knew we were entirely stuffed from the starters and mains, with Jake helping me polish off my properly seasoned chips. We stuck around for another drink before asking for the bill, which came to around £82 for two starters, two mains, two beers and three more drinks.
The Botanist, at Alderley Edge, offers a secret garden feel with luxury hand-crafted cocktails, exceptional food and warm service, perfect for treating your loved ones for a special occasion, or just because. Jake and I had a lovely time celebrating his birthday, and can’t wait to go back and see what other lush venues Alderley Edge has to offer, too.