I don’t know how it works in your office, but here at Living North we tend to overindulge on a Friday. For a long time we upheld the tradition of ‘fat Friday’ when everyone would bring in a series of delicious bakes and gooey desserts and we’d stuff our faces all day long – it wasn’t a pleasant sight I assure you. In recent months we’ve branched out to trying new restaurants and takeaways on our lunch breaks. So last Friday we went along to try the new lunch menu at The Botanist.
The Botanist is now such a staple part of Newcastle’s food and drink scene that it’s easy to forget less than two years ago it was a slightly rundown shopping centre. Their watering can cocktails and hanging kebabs are serious Instagram bait and they recently added bottomless brunch to the mix (aka breakfast items and all-you-can-drink prosecco). But they now offer an affordable lunch offering too.
The premise of the lunch menu is simple. Choose from a range of sandwiches, wraps and salads, including beer-battered cod, smoked salmon and honey roast ham, then layer up the sides. These aren’t your average sides though. If you’re watching your waist you can opt for cauliflower couscous or Greek salad. Want a warming dish on a cold autumn day? Pair your sarnie with bacon and lentil, tomato and butterbean or chicken and coconut soup. But of course this is ‘fat Friday’ so cheesy chips or seasoned chips are more likely to hit the spot.
I went along with another colleague. We decided to mix it up with mocktails (Berry Good Times and a Cucumber and Rosemary Cooler) and chose the coronation chicken on granary bread (for her) and a chicken caesar wrap (for me). We briefly entertained the idea of sharing sweet potato fries, but quickly decided on a portion each and some sweet chilli slaw.
It didn’t take long before we were presented with a mountain of food. Trust me, you aren’t going to go hungry here. We asked for a portion of harissa mayonnaise (because mayonnaise is always better with some African spice) and tucked into our feast. With fresh ingredients and some sophisticated tastes (the Oriental-inspired slaw was spot on), it was a great alternative to a pre-packaged lunch and a bit of an indulgence on a Friday afternoon.
The lunch menu is priced at £7.50 for a sandwich or salad with one side and £9.50 for two sides. Find full information at www.thebotanist.uk.com