The term gastro-pub could almost have been created for the modern socio-conscious Sloaney. Think about it. A supposedly simple venue where diners can feel like they are ’slumming it’ combined with restaurant quality food which has been slightly dressed down to make the diner feel like they know how the rest of us live. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a complaint, merely an observation, because the gastro-pub revolution has actually brought with it a number of very good dining establishments. Seeing as it was completely packed by 6.30 on a Wednesday evening, it appeared that in The Botanist we had found the Mecca for Chelsea’s gastro-pub aficionados!
Named after Sir Hans Sloane, pioneering naturalist and Chelsea Physic Garden benefactor, the first thing to strike you as you enter the light and airy dining room is a collation of natural wonders, presented as a collector’s cabinet of curiosities. Look a little deeper and you’re likely to be blinded by the dazzle of chandeliers and impressed by the luxurious cream and light brown hues of the décor – only on Sloane Square could such a glamorous venue be referred to as a ‘pub’!
Perhaps not quite sharing Sir Hans Sloane’s adventuring spirit, Head Chef Andrew Beddoes has put together an all-day menu largely full of British classics using quality ingredients; saying that, travelling the world for one’s ingredients is just so un-PC! Starters were delicious combinations of Roast wood pigeon on toast, puy lentils & hazelnut hollandaise and Braised oxtail, smoked eel, onion purée with bone marrow croutons. The only criticisms were that wood pigeon was slightly overdone and the braised oxtail dish was fairly tiny for what was essentially a dish of fairly unfashionable ingredients.
Mains were a perfectly Roast red leg partridge, cocotte potatoes, chanterelles and the most delicious curly kale which had been slow cooked in oxtail and eel stock. Contrasting those gamey flavours were the Pan fried monkfish cheeks with brown butter, a tangy caper & parsley sauce & rich pommes mousseline with trompette mushrooms. For dessert, Miss Pancake and I shared an outstanding Pear tart tatin with Aspall cider crème fraîche, vanilla ice cream and a toffee sauce so indecently decadent, you could probably bottle it up and sell it in Anne Summers. Accompanied by a few choice glasses of wine from the extensive and sensibly priced 150 bin list (including a superb Syrah/Cabernet/Grenache for just £3.90) it was clear to see why The Botanist had garnered such a strong following.
Cuisine type: Gastro-pub/ British
Dinner for two (excluding drinks): £65
No.7 Sloane Square
London, SW1W 8EE
Tel: 020 7730 0077