Thursday, 24 September 2009

Breakfast at The Botanist

On the north corner of Sloane Square, the stylish Botanist brasserie apes its elegant setting in the safe way one would expect of its Chelsea location. The venue has been lent its theme by the legacy of Sir Hans Sloane; prints of flora and fauna from his collections are decorously woven into the dressing of the rooms, creating a calm and fresh interior.

Floor to ceiling windows flood light into the spacious entrance and make the most of the dramatic metallic bar made complete by oversized vases, tall stools and diners draping themselves on its edge. Wandering through to the dining room we sit down on pale leather banquettes next to another magnificent expanse of glass and ponder the eclectic breakfast list which features sauteed cepes, Parma ham, pancakes and porridge.

Considering there are only one or two other groups and several unoccupied waitresses it takes an extraordinarily long time to order our drinks; perhaps the serenity of the location has taken too strong a hold. But when the loose leaf Lapsang does arrive in its charming pastel ceramic pot it is delicious and the cappuccino is well, a cappuccino – warm, frothy, caffeinated, not particularly memorable – standard in a city where every other shop front conceals an Italian coffee machine.

Sir Hans Sloane was responsible for bringing cocoa to our shores and discovered that with milk and sugar this strange exotic bean was almost palatable. We should of course have tried the decadent Botanist Hot Chocolate, created in his honour, but I wasn’t convinced that poached eggs and a Rococo chocolate stirrer would make such a perfect pair.

The scrambled eggs which arrived atop smoked salmon and English muffins told the same story as the coffee, they were remarkable in nothing bar the small portion. And my poached eggs were undercooked, watery and tasted more of vinegar than anything else. This is not in any way bad food, if you were in less impressive surroundings perhaps it would taste better, perhaps not, but the over all sense is that the cuisine plays second fiddle to the atmosphere.

Just as Sir Hans Sloane’s legacy was arguably the result of lucrative investments and fortuitous circumstances rather than inspired intellect or hunger for discovery so the Botanist’s success seems to be based on design and setting rather than innovative or interesting culinary mastery. The team behind it just doesn’t think outside the box, or in this case the very famous Square.

The Botanist
No 7 Sloane Square
London SW1W 8EE
020 7730 0077

The Botanist on Urbanspoon


  1. As in THE Rococo Chocolate?

  2. As in this Rococo Chocolate...

  3. you should try Daylesford Organic Cafe on Pimlico Road for breakfast.... they even do soft boiled eggs with soldiers! Bliss!

  4. Luckily the company made up for the coffee....

    I had a rather stange concoction at Daylesford last week - felt like a mix between fondue and rice pudding - not a patch on the greasy spoon fry up served at the imperial arms by west brompton - sausage, egg 'real chipz' all served in the company of fella's not out of place in a star wars movie....