The Botanist launches in Kew Green
The recently refurbished Botanist is no newcomer to the Richmond pub scene, having been open for a number of years; they closed their doors briefly for a facelift and revealed their new look in May. On entering it is clear that the place is a popular haunt for many locals, who all came out to celebrate the new look. Even early on in the evening, the vibe was buzzy and jovial, as if the Botanist never closed.
In proper English pub fashion, there is an extensive and well-stocked bar offering a range of specialty lagers, craft beers and special “ales of the day”, as well as interesting wines comprised of old and new world wineries, and fun seasonal cocktails. However, sometimes the occasion (or weather) calls for a Pimm’s, and theirs was perfectly mixed with a muddle of fresh fruit. The canapés served highlighted their new menu and gave a clear representation of the unpretentious food on offer. First to be sent out were the Jersey Royals with tomato and asparagus, with a light Hollandaise-like dressing; very pretty to look at but disappointing in taste and rather under-seasoned. Next came the crowd pleasing bacon-wrapped sausages with brown sauce, which were simple and tasty, and the tempura cauliflower, which, with its spicy crème fraîche was unexpectedly delicious. The sweet potato wedges with tarragon mayo had a good roasted flavour, however were slightly awkward to eat due to the shape and texture. The fish goujon, while tasty, seemed a little conceptually confused served bruschetta-style, but the ‘mushy pea’ element on the bread managed to steal the show with its punchy flavour.
Last out of the kitchen but gobbled up in no less time were the wonderfully sweet and smoky barbecue pulled pork sliders and the salmon fishcake, which had a very good flavour and an excellent crumb but needed a slightly more acidic accompaniment. Overall the food was great, and had a mix of old-school classics and fun new ideas that you wouldn’t necessarily expect from a pub in Richmond.
The Botanist can be very proud of the evening it hosted, it didn’t take long for the room to fill up and the waiters handled the crowds perfectly. Even behind the bar the staff were attentive and always on hand to refill a glass. Despite Kew Gardens being right around the corner, there appears to be another reason to venture so far out of central London.