Restaurant review by Hannah Richardson
Sunday lunchtime was in full swing when we arrived at pub restaurant The Botanist, in the centre of the pretty little town of Marlow.
Never one to turn down a roast dinner, I had jumped at the opportunity to sample the pub’s Sunday Roast – especially as they assured me they could cater for a gluten-free diet.
The venue is one of a chain of The Botanist pubs operated by The New World Trading Company, winner of six awards at The Publican Awards 2017.
It was a cold day, but inside The Botanist the farmhouse-style dining room was warm and cheerful. The large room was already busy with groups of diners of all ages, from families with babies and children to grandparents, young couples and groups of young people.
But thanks to the high ceiling and the room being broken up with a number of nooks and alcoves, and large and small tables, it didn’t feel overcrowded or oppressive. The quirkily rustic décor included a high-level platform displaying a wacky collection of items including old farming implements, a deckchair and a wooden toboggan.
The service from our young waitress was cheery and charming throughout and we were quickly served with our choice of alcohol-free drinks from a list including Homemade Lemonade and Berry Good Times.
For our roast dinner we chose beef and lamb and, to my great delight, they were able to serve everything but the Yorkshire pudding gluten free.
The food arrived on cheerful, mix-and-match, flowery farmhouse plates. The two large slices of beef were the best I’ve tasted for a long time, and it came with gorgeous braised red cabbage, roast potatoes, honey-glazed carrots, tenderstem broccoli and gravy. We added side orders of carrot and parsnip mash and baked courgette, sage
and apricot stuffing balls, both of which were very good. My only disappointment in the whole meal was that, for me, the tenderstem broccoli was undercooked, but that does seem to be the fashion nowadays.
Purely in the name of further research, my companion followed up with a Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert, which he thoroughly enjoyed. “A very light cake with a rich toffee sauce,” was the verdict.
With no tempting gluten-free desserts on offer, I opted for the Cheese Board – and very good it was too, with a tasty Stilton, sharp and crumbly Applebys’ Red Cheshire and a deliciously mellow Shorrock’s Lancashire, all served with a beautiful fig chutney.
We finished off our meal with a coffee and a Triple Mint Tea made with fresh leaves and served in a flowery teapot.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable meal in an unpretentious pub restaurant with a very pleasant atmosphere and charming service. Definitely somewhere I’d pay another visit.
The Botanist is now taking bookings for Christmas parties. Starters include Smoked Salmon Rillettes with Avocado Salsa, Curried Cauliflower and Coconut Soup and spicy Roast Jerk Ham with Apple Remoulade.
For mains, try Turkey Hanging Kebab with Cranberry Glaze, Sirloin Steak with Braised Spiced Red Cabbage with Smoked Bacon, Baked Cod in a Herb Crust or Roasted Butternut Squash and Mushroom Wellington.
Finish with a Cranberry and Raspberry Meringue with Poached Pear and Eggnog Cream, a Christmas Bakewell Tart, an Orange Brandy Custard or a decedent Chocolate Fudge Brownie.
The Botanist, 48 West Street, Marlow, Bucks Sl7 2NB, call 01628 488688.