Rather than give you a full walkthrough of my evening at The Botanist on Monday night, for this review of their Christmas menu and outdoor terrace I’m going to do it slightly differently. As most of you that live in Newcastle know, The Botanist is one of the busiest bars in town especially at this time of year. So for you folks, or anyone venturing to Geordieland for a Christmas weekend or shopping trip here’s my do’s and don’ts to get the most out of your visit.
Do’s for visiting The Botanist this winter!
Do…sip on a hot mulled wine or mulled cider. They’re everyone’s favourite drinks over winter and nobody judges you whatever time of day you have one! The Botanist serve them with a slice of fresh orange in a proper mug to warm your hands.
Do…enjoy a lighter Christmas meal with a turkey hanging kebab. The Botanist transform their famous hanging kebabs into a Christmas dinner, with turkey and pigs in blankets skewered over a bowl of fresh vegetables. Definitely a lighter but still filling take on Christmas dinner, and they’re served with a pot of gravy to drizzle over too. Personally I think they need more gravy so I’m sure they’d provide it if you ask, but I’m told this is a Northern thing!
Do…take your time choosing your desert. We all got very excited when we saw the gooey chocolate brownie served with ice cream and chocolate sauce!
There’s also a Bakewell tart with orange brandy custard and cranberry and raspberry meringue with poached pears available too if you prefer. All are great for sharing so if you can’t choose one get a couple between you.
Do…lap up the festive atmosphere, or ‘hygge’ if we are jumping on that bandwagon. The Botanist is one of my favourite bars at Christmas because despite being so big and elaborate, they do a great job of making it still feel intimate and cosy.
The twinkly lights and Christmas decor literally make it feel like you’re in a winter tree house, whichever area you go for. There’s also the really incredible live music playing, which we all commented on over dinner.
Do…try the new Budweis Mule cocktail. If you’re a frequent visitor to the Botanist you might have noticed the big Budweiser tank that appeared in the corner. The Botanist have exclusivity in Newcastle on this original Czech recipe and their take on a traditional Moscow Mule is one to try this winter.
I’m not personally a beer fan, so if you’re like me then other seasonal cocktails include the Sloe Gin and Xmas tonic, the Winter Cardigan Old Fashioned, or even a Decadent Hot Chocolate.
Don’ts for visiting The Botanist this winter!
Don’t…worry if you don’t like Christmas dinner. As well as the turkey hanging kebab the other festive options include sirloin steak with braised spiced red cabbage, baked cod with a herb crust and chorizo and roast butternut squash and mushroom wellington with goats cheese.
Don’t…avoid the outdoor terrace just because it’s outside. Despite being freezing cold and at risk of rain and even snow on the rooftop terrace, The Botanist have you covered. Huddle up in one of the gorgeous little huts, adorned with fairy lights and decorations, or grab one of the warm woolly blankets they provide in baskets and sit at one of the quaint garden tables under a heater.
The bar is never more than a few feet away from you and it’s such a pretty area to pass a few hours with a mulled wine or cocktail.
Don’t…be put off by the novelty of The Botanist. Yes some of the food comes served in wheelbarrows, or baskets, plant pots, even chemistry flasks. Some people may be put off by this but the hot soup we tried with chunky bread tasted delicious, and the Botanist signature cocktail is still my favourite ever despite being served in a chemistry flask.
Don’t…forget to book ahead if you want to guarantee a table and avoid queuing at the bar. It’s so popular that table service is definitely the preferred option and you have a choice of the restaurant, the new mezzanine or even a private room called the Granny Smith room.
The past two years my friends and I have booked the Granny Smith room for our Christmas get together and exchange of secret Santa presents. It’s perfect for large groups who want some privacy, space and room to get merry without disturbing everyone else!
Don’t...miss the view. You might be distracted by the huge menu, your latest shopping purchases or the gossip you’re sharing with your friends but definitely don’t forget to take a look out of the window. Aside from the quayside, the view of Monument and Grey Street is one of my favourites in Newcastle. There’s nowhere quite like home at Christmas.
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Disclaimer: We received complimentary food and drinks at The Botanist for the purpose of this review, but all opinions are always my own.