Vibe: The Botanist bar and restaurant has been spicing up Sydney’s harborside suburb Kirribilli since it opened six months ago. It draws inspiration from illustrious and slightly eccentric British botanist Gerard Fothergill, who travelled the world researching plants, and then ran a small bookshop in the very building the restaurant now occupies. Modern, uncluttered interior with bentwood chairs and lots of lovely plants add up to friendly urban cool.
History: Born in the small English village of Barrington in 1868, Fothergill was a pioneer in the study of the medicinal qualities of plants and spices. His early explorations, at the request of Queen Victoria, saw him travel through Southern India and the Western Coast of Africa. He also spent many years based in the Middle East, particularly Lebanon, where he researched the Gundelia thistle, a much-savoured ingredient in some of the region’s traditional dishes. The Botanist pays homage to these botanical themes of exploration and discovery, with food and cocktail menus using abundant offerings of fresh produce, herbs and spices.
Food and drink: The Botanist has launched a new cocktail and food menu. Cocktails reflect the Botanist themes with simple flower and spiced infusions – including The Flower Doctor made with Botanist Gin and Le Bulleit Bleu, a blueberry infused Bulleit bourbon. Brunch is served each weekend from 11am:
- Fruit plate with vanilla yoghurt & rose hip syrup $14
- B.L.A.T on soy & linseed sour dough $16
- Open smoked salmon, cream cheese, shallot and caper sandwich $18
- The Benedicts; Bacon, ham or smoked salmon $18
- Baked Mexican eggs with avocado & tomato salsa & toast $18
- Corn and zucchini fritters with bacon, tomato relish & a poached egg $16
The global share plate menu, designed by head chef Justin Walshe (formerly of La Grillade), is made for exactly that, including additions with a Mexican flare such as soft shell tacos with the choice of marinated beef and chilli chicken, as well as pulled pork or southern style chicken sliders and two pizza choices, a veggie mushroom, artichoke and olive, and Italian sausage, potato and rosemary.
Verdict: Bloomin’ lovely. We’ll be back.
CHECK LIST FOR THE BOTANIST BAR AND RESTAURANT:
- Monday & Tuesday for dinner; Wednesday to Friday for lunch & dinner; Saturday & Sunday for brunch, lunch & dinner
- 17 Willoughby Street Kirribilli, Sydney (Enter via Broughton Street. Look for the light above the door)
- 02 9954 4057; firstname.lastname@example.org