Famed for its picturesque interior, The Botanist Reading offers the classiest of dining experiences, featuring an eccentric menu and tempting cocktail list.
The restaurant itself is characterised by botanical touches including plants, garden tools, and delicate lights which add elegance to the feel of the venue.
A floral theme can also be seen throughout the chain’s cocktail menu which includes over 30 petal infused alcoholic concoctions.
My choices of drink included the Strawberry and Elderflower Mojito (£8.95)- a strawberry, Bacardi, elderflower and lime mixture- and the Miracle Bulb (£9.95), a combination of gin, jasmine, citrus and Japanese liqueur.
The Mojito was both fruity and refreshing, with the Bacardi adding a welcoming kick.
Alternatively, the Miracle Bulb was fruity but slightly sour; the highlight of the drink being its presentation in an apothecary-style vase.
My dinner companion opted for the Poppy and Pomegranate Martini (£8.25) and Lychee and Rose Martini (£8.50).
The first cocktail was a delightful infusion of red berry vodka and poppy, pomegranate and basil flavours which was both smooth and flavourful.
Likewise the Lychee and Rose Martini carried a silky texture, helped by the plum egg white foam layer of the drink.
The Botanist’s food menu included a comparable range of exotic tastes.
My choice of starter was the Houmous dish (£5.50): a moroccan style variety of the dip layered with red pepper sauce and a crunchy topping, served with vegetable sticks and flatbread.
The houmous itself was an impressive flavour, packed with hints of spice and complemented by the softness of the flatbread. The ratio of bread to sauce could however have been improved by a more generous portion of the dipping component.
The Vegetable Ramen (£5.25) was my dinner companion’s choice of starter: a selection of thinly sliced fresh vegetables served in a flavoursome broth and the optional side of crispy chilli oil.
And while it is wise to sample only a small portion of the chilli oil at a time, the vegetable broth itself carried enough flavour to satisfy the taste buds.
Main courses on offer included seasoned meat, hanging kebabs, burgers and salads.
My choice of main was the 10 ounce Sirloin (£18.50) along with sides of peppercorn sauce and Tenderstem broccoli with almonds (£3.75).
The steak was highly succulent and fulfilling, with the peppercorn sauce adding a sensational silkiness to the meat.
Equally, the meal’s side of fries and my choice of tenderstem broccoli complemented the dish extremely well. In particular, the broccoli’s almond topping gave a delicious crunch to the vegetable.
My companion chose the Grilled Seabass (£15.50) which was served with raw pad thai salad and homemade satay sauce.
She was particularly impressed by the flavours of the peanut inspired sauce and fish, although noted that the seabass might have been more enjoyable if it had been cooked for slightly less time.
The finishing touch for our meals was the Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (£5.95) for dessert.
This gloriously sweet dish was faultless in flavour, texture and temperature; the warmth of the dessert adding a melt-in-your-mouth sensation to the treat.
Our visit to The Botanist was highly enjoyable and hugely tempting of another visit.
The bar-side musical entertainment added an essence of liveliness to our visit, while the waiter service was faultless.
Whether it’s a birthday celebration, romantic date, or family meal that attracts you to the restaurant, I highly recommend.