When Peter Jones switches on its Christmas lights, there seems to be a sudden charm to the cold bite of winter. I could even say that this is one of my favourite times of the year and not just because I love lights, which I do. Did you see how many photos I uploaded from the Battersea Park Fireworks?
I also love winter menus and indulging in heartwarming cocktails to nourish the soul.
Last night, I popped into The Botanist to try their new bar menu which had piqued my interest. Bar menus are a fascinating concept because most of the time, they’re really not that good. Yet, we excuse their subpar quality because they’re not supposed to be proper meals. They’re just a bit on the side.
However, like anything in life, when we do come across something decent – it stands out.
When I tried The Botanist’s new bar menu, one particular dish stood out for me: the soft shell crab burger with smoked chilli salt.
Want a closer look?
I love soft shell crab anyway. It’s one of my favourite dishes but I’d never had it in a bun, which totally worked. For the bf, this burger reminded him of Barbados: has anyone else tried the fried flying fish in a roll over there?
The breaded oyster slider with lime and chilli aioli also tickled my tastebuds. I had forgotten that it was on the menu and was both confused and intrigued by what I was enjoying. Again, this was a new experience for me because I had never tried oysters cooked. In fact, I remember frowning upon a bunch of Sydneysiders in Australia who were telling me about one of their favourite dishes: oyster mornay. How dare they ruin a perfectly good experience by placing the oysters under a grill and covering them with breadcrumbs and cheese? Why would anyone do that? But now I take those thoughts back. Well, perhaps not the cheese bit. But I totally get how cooked oysters can taste delicious – and in a bun.
The other two sliders that accompanied the breaded oysters were a cheeseburger and pulled pork with jalapeno relish.
But if burgers aren’t you’re thing, there are also chilli beef and chicken satay skewers on the bar menu.
I would say that my preference out of these two would be the chicken satay, which was more succulent.
The bf and I also sipped a few cocktails between us. To start with, the bf picked one of the Winter Warmers: the Winter Fairytale, which consisted of Courvoisier, Goldschläger cinnamon liqueur, cranberry, lemon juice and rose petal marmalade – served hot.
And whilst this cocktail tastes nothing like a Hot Toddy, it has a similar soothing effect to it. It’s ideal for the cold winter months ahead and it also tastes very good.
My first cocktail was the King’s Road Buccanner – but of course. And the ingredients included Diplomático Reserva Rum, Grand Marnier, chocolate and orange bitters.
If you like rum and cocktails with depth of flavour, then you might want to try this one. I really loved it.
Other cocktails consumed last night included the Sloane Ranger, which is very refreshing.
The Honey and Fig Collins – ideal for cocktail lovers with a sweet tooth.
And the Autumn Cobbler, which includes Ioyr Old Tawny Port, Somerset Brandy, Cointreau, apple and orange. Admittedly, I’m still getting my head around this one but the bf said he enjoyed it.
There were plenty more cocktails to try, including the Tinkerbell which is made of Tanqueray gin, kummel and a splash of absinthe. So if you get to try any of them out, I’d love to hear your recommendations.