The Botanist
17 Willoughby St
Kirribilli, Sydney

The Botanist is one of those places that has become an institution in a very short period of time. It's so popular - filling a gap in the thriving Kirribilli market that locals and others must have been waiting for. Taking the position of a nice fine dining restaurant and transforming it into a hip bar and eatery may have raised some eyebrows in the area - but not any longer. It's always busy!

The Botanist is the sister venue of Bondi Hardware and has a similar concept of varied cocktails coupled with a sharing menu of tasty treats that provides something for everyone.

Seating around 80 (including at the bar) it's a darkish place with piped music and a bustle to it that gives it an energy and life - yet you can still sit back in the comfy lounge benches along the walls and just chill.

The beef empanadas are one of their more popular dishes so we tried them first. They were certainly tasty and came with an absolutely lovely chimichurri sauce that was deliciously spicy.

To drink I had a Hawaii Chai-vo cocktail made from Pampero Especial rum with apricot brandy, lime, pineapple, grapefruit, spiced chai syrup and grapefruit bitters. It looked great in an impressive mug and tasted just as good, but I love rum drinks!

The lamb skewers with labna and roasted vegetables was another recommendation of The Botanists manager Peter - and again it was worth ordering! The lamb was so tender and tasted delicious with everything combining beautifully.

Mlady had The Blue Bulleit cocktail made from blueberry infused Bulleit bourbon with peach liqueur, a dash of orange bitters, spiced vanilla and blueberry syrup which she really enjoyed.

It's always hard not to order a tasty fried dish when you're having a drink or two at the end of the week - and this dish was probably on the menu just for that!

The crunchy fried squid with tahini remoulade was so good - with a nice crunchy outer and soft flesh inside.

The tahini remoulade was also great and went with the crunchy squid nicely.

Sliders are another staple with a drink these days. There are four varieties here which can be ordered as two and two if you want. We were lucky enough to try all four - classic beef and cheese with gherkin and relish, pork and cider with blue cheese mayonaise, Southern fried chicken with chipotle slaw and lamb with minted yoghurt and eggplant pickles.
They were all great combinations and oh so tasty but my favourite was the pork and cider with blue cheese which had a great flavour combination.

You can't eat shared food and drink cocktails without getting the munchies for something sweet to finish off with - and there's a few options here to satisfy these urges!

The chocolate brownie with shaved toasted coconut and vanilla ice cream is simply amazing. It's a massive serving that is so rich and thick and ideal to share. This one would be a chocoholics dream dessert. OMG - so good!

If you're after something a bit lighter in the dessert department then perhaps the pannacotta with rose water is right for you.

It not only looked lovely, it had plenty of variety with a poached fruit garnish, meringue shard and custard drizzle.

The desserts at The Botanist vary from week to week so check the board - but they're worth trying!

The Botanist is possibly best described as modern tapas although in reality it's probably still not a completely accurate description. There are plenty of food options catering to every taste.

People seem to drop in for a drink and maybe a quick nibble - then just settle in and stay. It's one of those places.

Service is friendly and helpful - just ask if you're not sure or if you want a suggestion.

Sir and Mlady dined as guests of The Botanist. Special thanks to the Manager there - Peter, who was very helpful, and also to Matisse who looked after us so well on our visit. Thanks also to Olivia Warne and Jo Steuart of Pendulum Communications for arranging our visit.

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