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Food Review: The Botanist

The Place

Now firmly embedded into the Sheffield food and drink scene, The Botanist in Leopold Square has become a popular venue for weekend cocktail treats, while its impressively spacious upstairs room – once upon a time a school hall – is a particularly picturesque spot for some indulgent dining in its secret garden-inspired surrounds.

The Food

We’re sorry, Botanist, we really are; but as enticing as your cocktail menu looked, we weren’t quite feeling it. Thankfully, the beer selection is just as impressive and we had plenty to go at from the handy ‘Anthology of Ales’ booklets provided.

Readily hydrated with two crisp craft lagers, we turned our attentions to starters. I opted for the crispy calamari, my dining partner chose the cumberland Scotch egg, and we really ramped up the savoury factor with some sticky honey and sesame chipolatas to share. The calamari had the perfect amount of crispy batter to tender squid, seasoned nicely with fajita salt and served up with guacamole and tomato salsa. The Scotch egg was a beast: meaty with the perfect runny yolk, and my partner, who sees himself as something of a Scotch egg connoisseur (no, seriously), put it right up there with the best he’d had in Sheffield. A surprisingly generous portion of glazed chipolotas kept us well occupied afterwards, complemented well by a Tribal Ale-infused mustard sauce.

For mains we thought we’d opt for The Botanist’s pièce de résistance: their famous hanging kebabs. There’s a nice selection on offer – everything from tandoori cod and king prawn to halloumi and falafel – which arrive suspended in a stand allowing sauce to be poured into a bowl at the top and slowly drizzled down over the kebab, finishing up in the fries below for additional garnish. Both still in carnivorous moods, I opted for the salt and pepper pork belly, which was suitably juicy, tasty and doused in a sweet chilli and ginger sauce to give it an Asian-style flavour. Opposite me, tender chunks of lamb were covered in spicy harissa jam and wolfed down just as quickly. Simple but immensely effective, you can’t see their trademark dish vacating the menu anytime soon.

Overdoing it slightly (quite a lot, actually) on the meat front, we were too stuffed to consider dessert – despite how tempting the baked chocolate chip cookie dough dishes looked on the next table – so instead settled for two creamy Irish coffees, a fittingly rich end to the night’s dining.

The Verdict

The Botanist scores high marks for an impressive relaxed vibe, well-presented food and attentive service. PS: their new spring menu provides the perfect excuse for a visit this month – treat yourself.

You can find The Botanist at 5A Leopold St, Sheffield S1 2JG.
To book a table visit their website of call 0114 273 7855

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