Botanist is one of the newer restaurants in Vancouver and it is located inside the Fairmont Pacific Rim. It has taken over the space where ORU used to be (not that I’ve been there). We arrived before noon so it was still fairly quiet.
There is a bar area as you enter and then you will notice the lush greenery surrounding the dining space.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to sit near the windows but I was right in front of the open kitchen where I could see the chefs meticulously plating each dish.
Not sure what the board on the left was for? Maybe cheese? A wine sommelier also approached us and asked if we would be drinking today. It was a work lunch so we weren’t drinking (not that I usually do anyway) but we asked her a few questions about wine and she happily answered them for us. She even brought me a small wine sample later as well which was a pleasant surprise.
The menu at Botanist focuses on vegetables and the menu is quite small. For our appetizer, we shared the Steamed Mussels with chorizo, cilantro, chili flakes and grilled sourdough. Each mussel was quite plump although there were 2 that didn’t open. I was expecting a more flavourful broth though or a thicker one. The flavours just didn’t work for me personally. The grilled sourdough was neatly tucked into a napkin blanket and it had an amazing grilled flavour coupled with a soft and mildly chewy texture. I liked the sourdough more than the mussels.
Moving on to entrees, we shared the Lamb Tenderloin with beluga lentils, tomato, pumpkin seeds, and natural jus. We asked for the lamb to be cooked medium rare and they delivered. Although looking at the photo now, is this more like medium well? Either way, it was not chewy or overcooked. Each piece was juicy and tender but I found the dish to be too salty overall. Especially after the juices run into the lentils, the lentils became salty as well.
The other dish we both had our eyes on was the Black Cod with saffron potato and seafood nage. The nage is the foamy stuff you see on the side and I just did a quick Google search and that is apparently the liquid used to poach the seafood.
Black cod has a great reputation for being buttery since it is an oilier fish and it’s one of my favourites. This version was good but I wouldn’t say it’s the best I’ve had. Also I thought the portion was a bit small? The saffron potato had an extremely velvety texture and just melted in your mouth and I enjoyed the fennel on top along with the fresh tomatoes. The yellow things are actually potatoes!
Overall nothing at Botanist blew me away, in fact it was a bit underwhelming. Especially after all the beautiful Instagram photos I had seen. Maybe dinner would’ve been a better experience? Or order their brioche bread which is supposedly amazing. I would prefer a visit to Nightingale which is just a block over.