There are pancakes and there are pancakes that are taken to another level. Over the weekend, I tried The Botanist’s Shrove Tuesday special which transcended any pancake experience I’d had before.

The Botanist

Lunch started with a few Prestigé oysters which were accompanied by … 

The Botanist

… a well recommended white wine. I wish I’d noted down the name because the wine was perfect for the oysters and the pancake which was on its way. There was a tinge of mineral that complimented the seafood deliciously. 

The Botanist

Seafood, seafood with pancakes? Yes, indeed. To be precise, chunks of lobster. There were also morel and chanterelle mushrooms and a creamy, smoked garlic bisque that arrived with the pancake, which was outstanding. 

The Botanist

Needless to say, my lunch was polished off without any delay. The BotanistIf you’re thinking about popping into The Botanist on Tuesday, their other pancake special is a deliciously sweet marshmallow pancake with hot chocolate sauce and coconut ice cream.

And The Cadogan Arms (The Botanist’s little brother) are also offering up pancake specials on Shrove Tuesday: Pork fillet and prosciutto with maple glazed baked apple and cider jus; and Buttermilk chocolate chip pancakes with hazelnut cookie dough ice cream.  How good does that all sound?

My lunch was complimentary for the purpose of the review which reflected just how spoilt my tastebuds felt by the end of the meal. This is indeed one fine pancake and one to certainly try. 

Chelsea Girl

Admittedly apart from last winter when I was pregnant, I don’t remember the last time I had a dry January. Detox is just something I’ve not had the discipline to do, except for when I’ve been expertly guided. For example, when I stayed at Park Hotel Igls which was amazing.

January is tough enough without having to sacrifice one of the greatest pleasures known to the universe, unless of course you’re in sunny climes – when a margarita on the beach becomes compulsory.

But saying that, like most folks in January I’m on a mission to fill my body with as much goodness as possible. Call it post-festive indulgence, post-pregnancy or generally project get-fitty. Whatever the reason, I was very excited to go along to The Botanist to review their latest range of cocktails.

Imagine freshly made fruit and vegetable juices involving ingredients that take you by surprise. Add a dash of Kamm & Sons ginseng sipirit, which is believed to boost energy, lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels as well as promote relaxation  – all served in one of Chelsea’s favourite cocktail bars. What do you get?

You get …

Beetroot Mary, which involves freshly juiced beetroot with raspberries, coriander, lemon juice, Kamm & Sons and pepper.

The Botanist - Beetroot Mary

At first I was dubious about this cocktail. I wasn’t sure how the earthiness of the beetroot would work with raspberries as well as lemon juice. But this cocktail completely works. It was a great revelation. There is a balance between the sweetness of the fruit and the savoury of the vegetable whilst at the same time it was really refreshing and very easy to knock back.

Next on the list is the Canary Mary, which includes yellow tomato juice, lemon juice, fresh grated horseradish, Kamm & Sons and green Tabasco.

The Botanist - Canary Mary

If you are a fan of the Bloody Mary, you will love this and then some. This cocktail’s depth of flavour is something to savour. Definitely one to take your time over.

The Green Twist, which includes juiced spinach, spirulina, Kamm & Sons and celery, feels and tastes like a health juice. It is the epitome of the guilt-free cocktail and if you love green juices, this is one to try.

The Botanist

The Root Remedy cocktail has fresh carrot and orange juices mixed with ginger and Kamm & Sons. This is another refreshing cocktail with the ginger providing the right edge to it.

The Botanist

And finally there is the Double Apple Mint, which includes pulped pineapple & apple juices with Kamm & Sons and fresh mint. I loved the deep mint flavour of this cocktail with the taste of pineapple mixed in. I’m a huge pineapple and mint fan so I really loved that this was the last cocktail to try on the list.

The Botanist

During the cocktail tasting, I couldn’t resist ordering the soft-shell crab burger which I absolutely love …

The Botanist

… whilst the OH ordered a burger from the bar snacks menu, which he also enjoyed.

The Botanist

True, burgers are probably not top of the January foodie-list but when you’ve been sipping all types of juices it almost feels like you’ve earned the right to bite into burger. You know?

Each of the cocktails is £8.50 and will be available at The Botanist throughout January so if you’re looking for a guilt-free cocktail, I recommend you try one.

Disclaimer: The food and cocktails were complimentary which didn’t affect my opinion. As the OH says, the cocktails were outstanding. It’s clear that The Botanist team worked hard to get the balance of flavours right. They’ve really hit the mark with the healthy cocktail.

The Botanist • No.7 Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8EE

Who else can’t believe it’s May already? Where has the time flown? Well, it goes without saying that this is one of my favourite months of the year. With two bank holiday weekends, how can it not be? So here are my suggestions of what to do locally this month …

1. Why not kick off May with a Cinco De Mayo party at Barts this weekend?

CINCODEMAYO

2. And later this month, there’s of course Chelsea’s event of the year, The Chelsea Flower Show which will be running from 21st until 25th May. Here are some photos from two years ago and last year. Also, don’t forget that there is also Chelsea in Bloom (more photos) and Chelsea Fringe also happening this month.

3. And whilst The Chelsea Flower show is on, from Wednesday 22nd until Saturday 25th May (12pm – 8pm every day), The Botanist will be running an Oyster and Joseph Perrier Champagne Bar in Sloane Square, complete with daily performances from a string quartet. You can enjoy champagne by the glass, by the bottle, or as a cocktail.

4. The Great Gatsby will open at Curzon Chelsea on 16th May but you can buy tickets from 3rd May. I cannot wait for this film to be released and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it represents Baz Lurhmann’s return to form. Check out my post with a video interview of the director himself.

5. If you’re an aspiring designer, fashionista or budding entrepreneur, Jean Queen Donna Ida Thornton is set to hold a Careers Day on 3rd May. Donna will be available all day from 10am – 4pm to answer questions at Donna Ida Head Office near Notting Hill. Donna will be joined by a host of Donna Ida girls who will also be happy to answer any questions (including Online Content Editor Amelia Kanaris and Graphic Designer Kate Gorbunova). To join Donna and the Donna Ida girls you can visit their Head Office on Friday 3rd May from 10am – 4pm at Phoenix Brewery, 13 Bramley Road, London W10 6SP. Nearest tube is Latimer Road.

Finally, just to warn you, my posts this month will be a little thin on the ground. This month is going to be craaazzzzy. Well, maybe not that mad but enough to occupy a large chunk of my blogging time. But whilst posts trickle through in May, they will return to normal by mid-June. So keep your eyes peeled for updates on new posts on my Twitter feed or Facebook page. Enjoy May and have two awesome Bank Holidays!

There are two reasons why I’m excited that it’s Pancake Tuesday tomorrow: 1. I love pancakes and 2. Because Pancake Day is essentially the eve of the first day of Lent, which means the countdown to Easter and thus springtime is about to begin. Oh yes!

Last year I celebrated Shrove Tuesday at The Botanist and I can’t recommend their one-day-only menu enough, especially the foie gras crêpe with wild mushrooms and cauliflower purée. The sweeter specials include blood orange Crêpe Suzette; a caramelised apple crêpe with vanilla ice cream and Calvados syrup; and a banana and chocolate crêpe with pistachio praline. Here is my post, which I wrote last year if you’d like to see some pics.

Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to indulge in pancakes tomorrow: the day looks packed and in the evening I’ll be at the Tate Modern for the Kraftwerk gig. So yesterday I popped into The Botanist to review their American pancakes which are served with cured crispy bacon and maple syrup, to make up for it.

The other week I was somewhere else and when I asked for some bacon on my pancakes, I was given a funny look. I had to explain that it was an American thing and whilst the woman was gracious about the whole confusion, I did feel slightly weird. So needless to say, yesterday I was very happy to be heading somewhere for breakfast that was on the same page as me.

And here is the dish, which is a permanent fixture on The Botanist’s breakfast menu.

American Pancakes

The BotanistThe bf ordered the crêpe complète, which is a crêpe served with egg, bacon and gruyere cheese. And I have to admit I had slight food envy because it made me think back to the foie gras crêpe from last year.

Crêpe Complete at The BotanistFor drinks I had an orange juice and a spinach and apple smoothie, which I was dubious about initially but which I actually liked. It wasn’t as spinachy as I’d imagined it would be.

Spinach and Apple SmoothieThe Botanist’s Shrove Tuesday menu is available for one day only (12th February 2013) but if you don’t get a chance to try it, there is always pancakes on the breakfast menu. Enjoy!

The Botanist, 7 Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8EE

 

So it’s January and you’re trying to be good and keep it dry. But it’s getting boring and these gloomy days are not helping. Sorry this isn’t the most optimistic introduction to my cocktails post but the permanent tinge of grey in the morning sky is really starting to become tedious and I cannot wait for spring to arrive!

For me the best way to beat the winter blues is through plenty of exercise for those endorphin hits and keeping my body fuelled with lots of fruit and vegetables. But you don’t have to live the life of a saint to keep feeling good. After all, booze has medicinal purposes too. It’s been at least a couple of years since I’ve felt fluey for more than 24 hours thanks to the ‘nipping it in the bud’ approach of two hot toddies before bedtime. It never fails.

But back to January. From 7th of this month until 10th February 2013, The Botanist will be serving up a range of cocktails designed for balanced goodness. They include (with benefits):

Lemon Aid, which is a blend of apricot-infused Tanqueray and white tea syrup. Apricots are rich in potassium, known to oxygenate the brain and stimulate the kidneys whilst white tea syrup is found to lower cholesterol and decrease blood pressure.

Green Business involves a mix of vodka; fresh cucumber; basil; and spirulina powder. Spirulina powder is a dietary supplement rich in B12 which protects the liver from toxic substances and helps build more red blood cells.

Hazy Days involves a blitz of Tanqueray gin; green apple liqueur; fresh ginger; and the superfood sun-dried goji berries. Goji berries are packed with more vitamin C than oranges, more iron than steak and more beta-carotene than a carrot whilst fresh Ginger helps alleviate cold and flu symptoms.

The Botanist Cocktail
The cocktails are £8.50 each and don’t forget there is also The Botanist’s food bar menu. The soft shell burger is sooo good! Enjoy! x
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