Okay, so, I’ve been a vegetarian/pescatarian for about a year now, and I can confidently say that I’ve tasted about 80% of Wellington’s best vegan and vegetarian spots and written a decent review on. HOWEVER. There is one place, which I consider to be Wellington’s most-famous vault of vegan food, that I haven’t actually done a write up on. This is the establishment where plant-based food is literally their namesake and BOY do they live up to that! Who, you ask? If you’re a Wellingtonian, you’ve probably already guessed it – but for you outsiders: it’s the bold, it’s the beautiful – it’s The Botanist.
I know. I’m a disgrace of a vegetarian! I’ve been here 4 times, yet I’ve never once done a full blog post about just how bloomin’ incredible their veggie-focused food really is. Well, todays the day. So, keep a-readin’ for a whole lotta vegan!
So, I’ve come here for dinner a few times, and of course for their show-stopping Brisk-Taker Burger (which I think should’ve won WOAP), but yesterday I finally took a bite out of their brunch menu – and let’s just say, I’m still shook. As I said earlier, The Botanist is famous for their plant-based takes on brunch, lunch and dinner dishes – so it’s usually heaving with hungry diners. Luckily, we got there before the morning rush, and even had our choice of 5-person tables (which on a Sunday, is definitely unheard of)! After sitting down in one of their plush velvet booths, our caffeine addiction and hunger pangs were all instantly taken care of by one of their eclectic and accommodating staff members. I opted for my go-to spring/summer drink (an iced coffee or cold brew (no cream) with an added shot of vanilla), and for my meal? Well, after obsessively following these plant-based guru’s for at least a year – I already knew their apple and caramel crème buckwheat pancakes was the meal for me.
The coffee, as always, tasted absolutely fabulous – if you haven’t ever tried the cold coffee and vanilla combo: it’s the perfect balance of refreshing, sweet, bitter, and it also gives you that caffeine kick that every Wellingtonian has a thirst for. Shortly after taking a sip on my drink were my pile of pancakes placed in front of me. I’m a tall girl, so I’m used to towering over everything – but heck, this mighty stack of pancakes was enough to make even the likes of my 6” stature feel small! Am I complaining? Absolutely not. Aside from the sheer size of the meal, the plate was absolutely beautiful. Playing off an amber and yellow aesthetic, there were slithers of fresh bananas, slices of saffron infused apple and pear, scoops of salted caramel cream cheese, and a sprinkle of pecan and walnuts. If you think that sounds good, just wait until you actually take a bite.
This was the perfect combination of sweet, tangy, savoury, nutty, and salty flavours – with enough of each component to have balanced bites of every ingredient throughout the whole eating experience. I was already knocked out by the sheer sensational tastes of this dish, but the thing that shook me to the core was the fact that this dish is ALL vegan and gluten free. All I can say is if every café made vegan food taste this bloody delicious, then convincing the human race to migrate from meat is going to be as easy as pudding – or should I say pancakes!
Phewie! – for somebody so speechless at the quality of food that I had at The Botanist; I sure have a lot to say. If you’re reading this and you’ve also dined at The Botanist, I’m sure you can nod your head in agreement when I say this is hands-down the best vegan food in Wellington, and possibly even the best café/restaurant I’ve ever been to. Every single dish I’ve had here has been tip-top tasting, served by the most wonderful people AND in a beautiful beach front location – what’s NOT to love?? I don’t think I can give this place any less than a 10/10 on the CCL scale. They’ve absolutely nailed every aspect that makes a bloody-good café/restaurant, and even with serving plant-based only cuisine, they’re still running circles around about 80% of other cafes in the Wellington region.