It was a battle of the bar openings at Media City last Thursday as two of Manchester’s most popular cocktail bars, The Botanist and The Alchemist, went head to head to launch new venues on the same evening.
We went to both. It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it.
The Botanist’s 14th venue, located in the 11-storey Orange Building in Salford’s bustling business district.
After a very welcome glass of fizz, we made our way upstairs to the first-floor bar where you are instantly transported into a world of flowery delight. Leafy trellises make a fantastic focal point and work well to divide the huge 6200 sq ft bar down the centre with cosy booths tucked away on each side.
The venue then splits further into small yet comfortable dining areas with the piece de resistance a huge outside terrace which makes allowances for the weather by providing a glass covered section, ideal for taking in the breathtaking vista of Salford Quays regardless of the rain.
In usual Botanist style, drinks were flowing and delicious canapes were greedily being fought over and munched, which meant we weren’t able to sample as many as we would have liked, but we did get to try out the Scotch Eggs which were succulent, juicy and perfectly cooked with an oozing yolk.
Although not all available on the launch night, the daily menu will be perfect for the MediaCity workers featuring signature dishes such as Salt and Pepper Belly Pork Hanging Kebabs.
We’ve tried these out at the Didsbury branch and they are definitely up there with the best deconstructed kebab you’ll find in Manchester.
Also on offer will be a multitude of tasty sharing platters and creative light bites such as Salt and Pepper Onion Petals along with classic nibbles such as Crispy Whitebait and everyone’s favourite good old baked Camembert with sliced apple.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating and for anyone with a sweet tooth the dessert menu will not disappoint with calorific dishes such as Baked Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Salted Caramel Ice Cream and Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse.
To wash it all down, The Botanist’s extensive cocktail menu really does have something for everyone ranging from classic cocktails such as the Strawberry and Elderflower Bellini to rum punches served in watering cans to creative concoctions such as the Thai Chilli Crush – a fiery mix of fresh red chilli, micro Thai basil, apple and lemon juice with Tanqueray gin and green apple liqueur.
This one is certainly not for the faint-hearted and so we played it safe on the launch night and sampled a Strawberry Mojito which was sweetly delicious and just a tad too easy to knock back quickly.
For those who prefer a more manly drink, there’s an extensive range of over 80 world ciders and craft beers on offer along with a selection of renowned wines.
Our night out at the new Botanist was blooming marvellous, just as we expected. And with its extensive and tasty food menu, tantalising drinks and a feel-good atmosphere, it makes a very welcome addition to the MediaCity scene.