Want a sure-fire way to make me happy? Feed me yummy food, keep my cocktail topped up and add a dash of live music, and I’m a happy camper. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when Katie from The Botanist in Leeds got in touch to invite me along for all of the above!
The Botanist is nestled in the underbelly of Trinity Leeds, encased in wood, leather, incredible lighting and hot-to-trot bar staff. It is the perfect date spot, or people watching post, with both intimate tables inside and heaps of outdoor seating.
I wasn’t alone on my night of spoiling at The Botanist, along for the cocktail and shenanigans were Kellie, Emma, Kayleigh & Alex, and boy were we spoilt. First up was the quite simply indescribably good Botanist Cocktail; made expertly with Green Mark vodka, Havana 3 rum, elderflower liqueur, red amaranth(the pretty sprigs atop), mint, jasmine syrup and lime juice topped with lemonade, I mean come on, if that isn’t a wonderful way to kick off a Thursday night, I simple don’t know what is.
It wasn’t just the booze we were there to indulge in, I must admit to having made a sterling effort since they opened to work my way through the menu, we we’re there to eat a heap of their yummy food, something I’d not managed to do before.
Let me state for the record, I’m always partial to humour/ingenious ways of presenting food, I adore simplicity at times, but every now and again a little theatre is welcome. Boy do The Botanist do theatre,Chicken & Liver Paté in a plant pot and Plum & Apple chutney in a wheel barrow anyone?
I have a soft spot for hummus, it is indeed the most simple yet satisfying snack, especially when accompanied by warm slightly toasted bread, yum beyond yum! The baked camembert was so sensationally packed full of garlic I most certainly wasn’t bothered by vampires on my journey home! Will you allow me a moment though, to rave about the mini sausages; honestly just the thought of as I write this is making me wish I had a big bowl of them and their mustard dip right here and now. Also must mention the chips, I’m a chip aficionado I like to think and these spiced and perfectly crispy beauts have shot up my list of favourites in Leeds.
The menu is eclectic, well thought out and not only a joy for the taste buds, but every single sense. If anyone fancies it, let me know, I will more than happily scoff all that again in a New York Minute.
When I was done lusting over the carbs, it was back to the cocktails. We really were treated by the Botanist bar team and were lucky enough to try three cocktails from their vastly impressive menu. After The Botanist, came our pick of the mojitos; which might just be my favourite long cocktail, all the sweetness with a flash of sour from the lime and a dash of freshness in the form of mint. I went for them English Mojito; fresh cucumber, lime juice, mint, apple juice, Beefeater gin and apple liqueur. IN-CRED-I-BLE, no other way to describe it.
The rest of the gang all chose differently and they made up quite the colourful bunch, including; cherry, blueberry and peach. All of them we’re yummy although vanished WAY to quick and may have contributed to my more than a little tipsy state.
To delightfully round of the boozy portion of the evening we had something more unusual, the Brewers and Botanists range is a variety of three different sample cocktails to choose from, each sidled up to a bottle of beer selected by the awesome team to compliment the flavours in the cocktail. The idea of adding this to the menu was to bridge the gap between the ‘beer drinkers’ and the ‘cocktail drinkers,’ a nifty idea, I’m sure you’ll agree. I went for the No 3, it was sharp, sweet & fruity and although the beer added to the flavour, complimenting whilst contrasting. The slight bitter almost savoury taste of the beer cut through the nearing too sweet flavours of the cocktail.
But as the title quite clearly states, the final piece of the night was the live music from Trask, a local duo who not only rocked up with a glittery drum but also brought along all the classics which made for a brilliant sing-a-long vibe. The Botanist has live music every night, EVERY NIGHT, so no excuse not to indulge in some indie tunes to accompany your cocktails and mini sausages. Trask hand out a playlist and you get little request slips to fill in and they even give you a shout out when your song comes on. I went for Proud Mary, a karaoke classic of mine that they did good and proud, Tina would have loved it! Other favourites included; Stuck In The Middle and All About That Bass, the indie version and Emma’s brilliant choice, 500 Miles by the Proclaimers. (Thanks to Emma for the great shot of the guys, I was too busy singing along…)
I have to admit, I had thought of The Botanist as just a bar, but it’s really so much more. From the concept, to the menu and even the interior, everything is beautifully thought out and the attention to detail really impressed. I will most certainly be making more of my future visits, and will definitely be partaking in one of their quiz nights.
As well as Leeds you can also find Botanists in Alderley Edge, Chester, Newcastle, Birmingham and Manchester, I’m 100% sure they’re all just as brilliant as Leeds is. As always, I’d love to know if you’ve tried The Botanist, and if you have any cocktail or foodie recommendations by all means leave me a comment below.
It wouldn’t be right to end this post without a snap of the whole blogger bunch, (hilariously this was one of over 40 the lovely chap taking it took, good old burst button on iPhones!)
I’m going to be blogging every day in June, so let me know in the comments if there is anything or anywhere you would like to know about! Wish me luck…