05-01-2015-The Botanist, Manchester

Between Christmas and New Year, Sue managed to wangle a couple of days off. With working in Retail, she has, as you could imagine, been working long hard hours for several weeks now, and she was ready for the break. She was also a little more than slightly under the weather! She has been battling this Ÿ??girl fluŸ? that seems to have been about, and didn’t appear to be winning. I therefore treaded more than gingerly when I started dropping hints about a visit to Manchester shopping. It was more than worth a try, but not worth pushing too hard. She was overtired, poorly, and a little less patient than normal. My early attempts fell on cold ridden, deaf ears. So I left it at that. I don’t do too bad overall, and one thing I have learnt through becoming Paula is that Sue deserves more than a little consideration. However, my suggestions hadn’t been totally ignored, and whilst at work on Monday, I got a text from Sue saying that a trip to the shops the following day might help her feel a bit better. Brilliant! I had written the idea off, choosing to try again later in the week rather than fall in to the bad books. It was even better when during the evening the conversation indicated that Sue was expecting to be out with Paula rather than her alter ego. I went to bed an excited little girl, hoping the night would pass quickly so that the morning would arrive faster. Silly, I know, but nevertheless true. It didn’t pass any quicker than normal, but even so, it soon came around. Sue shot off to the stables to feed her horses and I started to get ready. I picked out a casual shopping outfit Ÿ?? jeans, knee length boots, and a fluffy jumper, sorted out some appropriate underwear, and then proceeded to make myself look reasonable(ish). I applied the many layers, gave my eyes a bit of colour to match the jumper, sorted my hair out, made my lips glossy and pink, and was just about ready when Sue returned. She changed, and we hit the road for an uneventful journey into Town. By 10-00am we were sitting in the Metro Cafe eating Welsh Rarebit, and Toasted Currant Teacake, drinking Tea and Fresh Orange juice. I won’t do a blog on the Metro Cafe Ÿ?? we go there a lot, but only for snacks. Needless to say, it is obviously good quality, reasonably priced, and TV friendly, or we wouldn’t keep going back! The next project was shopping. We were soon carrying a few bags around containing a dress, new boots, a new jumper, jewellery, an umbrella and that was just for me! Sue also got a couple of jumpers and a few day to day things she needed. Things were going well. Actually, things were going great! By the time we had lapped both levels of the Arndale centre, visited Primarni, dropped some bags in the car boot, and got onto Market Street it was lunchtime. Sue fancied Deansgate Ÿ?? we enjoy people watching down there, so with nothing more planned, we walked on down there. I think she fancied The Living Room Ÿ?? it’s one of her favourites, but just before we got there, a new place called The Botanist caught her eye. It is next door to The Living Room, situated at 78 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2 FW, and can be visited online at http://www.thebotanist.uk.com . We weren’t sure if it was open. It actually appeared to be closed, and the menus on display didn’t have any opening times on them. We peered in through the door, and thought we could see some activity inside, so I took the decision to push the door and see what happened. It opened! Quite novel for a door I thought! Once we got in and walked down the entrance passage, we realised it was actually quite busy. I decided I would mention this to them at some point Ÿ?? they definitely need an Ÿ??OpenŸ? sign or something, or they need to seat early Diners in the front half of the Restaurant to ensure people know they are open for business. I did decide, however, that I would wait and see how we were received first before wading in in my knee length boots telling them how to run things. We were welcomed, and shown through to a table, where we were offered drinks and provided with menus. We also had chance to look around, and were both impressed with the decor. It looked like Drew Pritchard off Salvage hunters had provided all the furnishings. It was quirky and quaint with lots of Ÿ??shabbyŸ? second (or maybe even third) hand furnishings and fittings. We liked it. We actually liked it a lot. Whilst looking around though, we didn’t totally ignore the job in hand, and also made sure we had studied the menus ready for when our order was required. It didn’t take long before our Waiter delivered two Diet Cokes to the table and took our order. Sue started the ball rolling with Salt and Pepper Onion Petals with sour cream which were slivers of onion in a salt and pepper coating, with, yes, you guessed, sour cream. I, however, decided I was more suited to Pork Crackling with chilli, spring onion and sweet apple sauce. I guess you can work out what that consisted of! We both agreed that they were tasty, and the portions were more than adequate. As you would imagine, starters were then followed by main courses, with Sue having Scampi and Chips with Tartare Sauce. This came with the Scampi served in a basket hamper complete with lid and leather strap Ÿ?? another quirky little detail. I filled my boots (remember, the knee length ones….), with Coronation Chicken Sandwich and Chips. Both plates were also adorned with the usual Ÿ??green shitŸ? as my darling, eloquent better half puts it. I do know where she is coming form Ÿ?? you rarely eat a meal in a Restaurant, that doesn’t have some form of greenery on the plate, but I’m not sure I would label it in the same vein that she does! Greenery or not, it was good, and we were both soon looking at empty plates Ÿ?? admittedly, I did assist Sue in the greenery department, but that was all I had to help her with. Whilst we were eating, we also noticed a little girl on the next table being served with her meal Ÿ?? it was fish and chips in a wooden box like you made in woodwork class (or like the boys made whilst you were doing needlework) with the chips in a yellow child’s bucket with a bright red handle. Perfect idea. They certainly know how to do the quaint and the quirky thing here. We also had another drink each whilst we were eating. I had a diet coke, but Sue had spotted some non-alcoholic cocktails on the menu, so she decided to sample a Grape, Raspberry and Elderflower Cooler – Raspberry pur€÷e, elderflower cordial, grapes, sugar syrup, orange and cranberry juice which was served in what you could only describe as a rather thick jam jar with a handle on it. How did I know it was thick? I asked it a few questions! Bum bum! We were both quite full, and Sue was going out for a meal with her family later in the day for her Sisters 60th birthday, so we pretty much decided not to bother with the desserts. I suppose the clue there was the phrase Ÿ??pretty much decidedŸ?. That gives it way that it wasn’t a totally foregone conclusion. In fairness to the Restaurant, we felt we should at least read the Dessert section of the menu. It would be totally rude not to. So we did. Just a look. So……………………………… Sue had the Peach Melba Ice Cream Sundae, and I had the Strawberry and Marshmallow Kebab with Sailor Jerry chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. Now for those of you who don’t know Sailor Jerry, he’s a rather hearty type of chap who likes a spot of rum in his chocolate sauce. And who can blame him. My dessert was served on quite a contraption – it consisted of a metal frame with a wooden bowl at the bottom containing the ice cream, and then a skewer suspended over it containing alternate strawberries and marshmallows. There is a small dish at the top with a hole in it, into which you are supposed to pour the chocolate sauce which in turn then dribbles down the skewer and its contents. The waitress did advise me, however, not to do that, but to simply dip everything into the sauce so as not to waste any on the metalwork. A first class tip! We shared a final Diet Coke whilst we enjoyed our desserts, and then sat taking in the atmosphere, and discussing how much we had enjoyed everything. The service was quick, but unrushed, the food was delightful, the surroundings were more than interesting, and it was busy enough to have a real atmosphere. My presence had not caused any rumblings whatsoever, and believe it or not, we parted with a grand total of ô?45-00 including a tip before we left. As we paid the bill, I complimented the staff, but took the trouble to tell them of our early thoughts with regard to the general appearance of Ÿ??closednessŸ? They were genuinely concerned, and one of the girls came out with us as we were leaving to look at things from a prospective Customers point of view. She totally agreed with us, and from her reaction, I would be very surprised if some form of action isn’t taken. I bet you already know the answers to the three we always ask, but just in case, here we go: Is The Botanist TV friendly? Yes, it is friendly full stop. I don’t think they care who or what you are, it’s just that type of place. Value for Money? As you know, I rarely push this part of things because I think value is often down to the individual concerned, but on this occasion, I feel I have to stand up and be counted with a definite swing towards the good value side of things. Read what we had and work it out – ô?45-00 for all that lot can not be classed as expensive! Would I go again? I would, and have no doubts that I will be. Soon