24 May 2014

A Family Meal At The Botanist, Trinity Leeds

We have never really been out much for meals as a family. Having a fussy son means that meal times can be hard work. But after organising Thomas' 5th Birthday, which was yesterday, we just knew that we wanted to try The Botanist and was even more eager to try out their delights after they invited us over to review their children's menu.  

Tucked away outside the Trinity Centre, The Botanist is a haven for eclectic design, and has definitely gone for 'the garden' theme indoors. From the patio area outside, it looks like a quaint little place, but then you step inside, to this secret hideaway that is actually quite vast. 

The Botanist is a concept unlike anything else! You might have seen food in quirky designs, but this is something else. Everything has it's own little story...

They offer a well stocked cellar of cask-conditioned ales, more than 40 bottled beers and ciders from around the world, a selection of finest Champagnes and an intriguing cocktail menu. 

Now, I must confess before we go any further. We thought we might actually have to change dates for visiting as my husband is waiting on an operation and, last week, received an appointment for another scan which just so happened to be for Saturday (since when did hospitals send out weekend appointments?) and so he couldn't eat for 24 hours before this, ruining the chance for him to sample their menu.

We decided to go though. It was, after all, Thomas' birthday and seemed like a great chance to try somewhere new, something different. 

It was also a Friday night which meant that it was very busy, full of customers sampling the drink delights. Although the table area is hidden behind quirky cupboards and away from the bar to give it a more private, secluded feeling, a place where you can eat good food and take in the amazing surroundings. 

Then came the food. As I said above, my husband couldn't have anything so it was myself and the children sampling the menu. This came with a hard decision. What do we pick?

Above, is my starter, Pork crackling. I picked this, as these are one of may favourite snacks, and to be honest, I wanted to see how they could be presented in a way which looked pretty and appealing. 

The pork crackling came with chilli and spring onion on top and a side of sweet apple sauce. As you can see, the garden theme runs throughout with the tiny wheelbarrow placed to be the sauce holder. 

As I took my first bite, I knew I was hooked, the more I tasted, the more I wanted. They were so moorish. The crunchy texture with a salty bite, bursting full of flavour and dragging me in for more. It's safe to say that these went down quite easily although I did feel a bit sorry for my husband who proclaimed that they smelt devine and he wished he could try them. 

For my main course, I went for the home comfort of fish and chips. Why not, I thought. It is one of my favourite meals as I love fish. Served with tartare sauce in a mini watering can and mushy peas in a plant pot, again following on the theme. 

The fish was huge, and I mean huge, with yummy bubbly, crispy batter. As I broke in to it with my fork, the fish just fell to pieces, you could tell that it had been taken care of in the cooking process and tasted magnificent. The chips were extra crispy and seasoned perfectly, a perfect accompaniment to the perfect fish. 

I love the fact that they aren't served on plates, but rather small crates which wouldn't look amiss in a garden full of flowers.

Then came the children's menu. Charlie loves chicken and so I knew that he'd want the chicken fingers and chips. 

Again, the design didn't let us down at all. A bucket of chicken, bucket of peas, wheelbarrow of tomato sauce and a plant pot full of curly lettuce accompanied the chips which were in the centre of the crate. 

This was a huge portion for such a small child, but let me tell you, he worked his way through most of the food in his plate. Devouring his chicken a chips and then enjoyed pouring the peas out of the bucket onto the plate, as though he was on a beach playing with sand castles, he loved the fact that he could actually play with his food whilst eating it. 

With Thomas, I was a little more sceptical. He is a really fussy eater. I was happy to see that they did a bangers and mash meal though as this is the food that he always wants. 

I was wondering though, just how much different they could make bangers and mash. A tower of mash perhaps with bangers poking out of the top? No, once again, The Botanist outdid themselves with their creative design...

Creamy mash, peas and lashings of gravy came out in this quaint tin bowl, with the bangers, presented on a kebab skewer which fits onto a stand above the bowl. And let me just say, Thomas loved this. 

I always think that children's food should be presented differently, as we all know how fussy kids can be and just giving that extra bit of thought can make all the difference. Kind of like the Bento style packed lunches that there is so much craze for at the moment. 

Thomas enjoyed pulling the sausages from the skewer and dipping them into his gravy. I was actually surprised to see him eat so much. Thomas is usually, more of a grazer but tonight, he devoured the sausages in no time at all.

Then it was time for dessert...

By this time, I was so stuffed with the food that I had already eaten, the I couldn't manage a dessert.
I was gutted too as I have such a sweet tooth and would much rather stuff my face with cakes usually, but this time, the food, the starter and main course won and I just couldn't fit any more in. 

The boys children's meal came with a desert. A choice of 2 scoops of ice cream from 3 flavours, chocolate, strawberry or vanilla. Thomas chose chocolate and Charlie, vanilla. 

Although the dessert did follow the same theme as the rest of the meal, I thought that it looked more like a day on the beach.

A bucket full of ice cream with spade in to eat it with. A biscuit crumb on the base which looked like sand and a mixture of sweets. The boys both tried to make a sand castle (well, ice cream castle) by tipping it out onto the biscuit base.

The different textures of the smooth, cold ice cream, crunchy biscuit and chewy sweets made for a great treat which the boys loved. 

I really cannot imagine that amount of thought, design and planning that went into making our food, and the high quality ingredients and great chef that made everything taste extra special. The friendly staff and great atmosphere made it such a lovely place to sit and eat.

We all loved the quirky garden themed building, décor and the food itself and I cannot wait to come back for another visit. Maybe next time, just my husband and myself so that we can try some of the alcohol varieties, and this time my husband may actually get to taste their food. 

Visit The Bontanist website, for more information about their food and themselves too.


  1. Wow! The decor, presentation and meal all look incredible! I would love to have a meal somewhere like that! I've never been to Leeds - We're very far south! x

  2. wow I love the look of this place, such a fab way of arranging the food too.

  3. I went on an ale tasting class here, it was great, we also had sunday lunch which was seriously yummy

  4. This place looks amazing! If my husband is ever there on business I will definitely be going with him so we can visit x

  5. I wish I lived in Leeds. The pics and the description are wonderful. I'm drooling just looking. Glad you all had a wonderful time.

  6. OMG You have me drooling! Sounds a great place to eat!

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