How wonderful is it, on a Friday afternoon when finally you can look at your clock (or in most of our cases, our iPhones) and finally staring back at us 5.00pm.. So what do you do? Where do you go? You want to catch up with your friends, natter over the past weeks events and just wind down and relax with a drink (or two!) and eat some delicious food as you enter the weekend. Now, I have found the perfect place – tucked away on the corner of Willoughby St in the beautiful setting of Kirribilli is the latest small bar to hit the scene, The Botanist. And my word, how it has certainly hit the scene. Having only been opened to the public for just over a week, The Botanist is the talk of the town, on everyone’s mind and is booking up fast.
I headed down to The Botanist on Friday to get a piece of the action. Before I get into the details, let me set the scene for you guys, it’s 7.30pm, so peak time for Friday night antics. I easily find The Botanist, drawn by the soft hum of chatter and the warm lights glowing from the windows. I am led down a tiny set of stairs and enter, the first thing that hit me, was just how busy it was. Considering at that point, The Botanist had only been in existence for a week, I was so taken a-back by how many people were in there – a sure testament to the work that owners, Ben Carroll and Hamish Watts had put in.
Once settled into my seat, I noticed just how beautiful the interiors were – plenty of greenery including hanging plants and ferns, dark wood furnishings and a bountiful of candles dotted everywhere. Paying homage to the eccentric and slightly mad botanist, Gerard Fothergill, The Botanist feels like it is telling a story. Every so often you’d often come across quirky knickknacks like old jars, walking sticks or books adding just enough to the Colonial feel, but the overall atmosphere is cosy, intimate and inviting without ever being ‘claustrophobic’. The drinks menu was definitely a hit for me – designed to represent an old colonial botanist’s log book, the cocktail names were under a notification tag and the base of the cocktail noted as ‘the specimen’ – a cute and very original way of displaying the cocktail and drink options! (Check out my gallery – you’ll see what I mean!). The cocktails were beautifully presented and so unbelievably tasty – with an emphasis on flavour, spice infusions and taste, it was a treat to try a couple. If you’re not a cocktail drinker, there are plenty of wines, beers and spirits – you’re spoilt for choice.
Moving on to my favourite part – the food! So The Botanist‘s menu is all about sharing, sharing and sharing. Think tapas, small plates, salads and pizzas. The flavoursome menu has been especially designed by top chef Justin Walshe. I opted for the classic burgers (so cute! mini size!), the prosciutto wrapped bocconcini, quesadillas and the lamb and couscous. Figured the best way to try the menu was wide and varied and let me tell you, it was so delicious. With a strong emphasis on flavour, the food was bright and colourful. All the meats were beautifully cooked and as each plate came out, was gorgeously presented. I really recommend the prosciutto wrapped bocconcini. It was so tasty and I probably could have ordered another plate.. or maybe two!
The crowd was a mix bag – families catching up, people having post-work drinks, friends having dinner and plenty of couples on dates. It’s perfect for any occasion and seemed to be a hit with everyone around me.
Check out my snaps of The Botanist to get a really good feel of what I’ve been talking about:
I am loving this place and it clearly looks like the rest of Sydney is too. Everything about The Botanist, is fresh, unique and special – Many congratulations to Ben and Hamish, you’ve managed to breathe some new life into a very special part of Sydney. I thoroughly recommend that if you haven’t already checked out or even heard of The Botanist, to make some time and get down there. Stunning food, stunning drinks and a stunning atmosphere in a stunning location. What more could you ask for?
And I thought I’d share another snap. Here I am with The Botanist’s owner Ben Carroll:
Make sure you live a little, book a table and check out The Botanist!
Address: 17, Willoughby St, Kirrbilli
Phone: 02 9954 4057
Currently open for dinner 7 nights a week & lunch from Wednesday – Sunday.