Botanique in Hove is the plant-based restaurant that will delight even your most sceptical meat-eating friends.
The calming neutral decor, spiral staircase and giant olive tree, give the eatery a Mediterranean feel. As you step in off the bustling cafe-lined street, the restaurant feels warm and inviting. The chairs are comfy and hurricane lamps create a spa-like zen.
In stark contrast, the experimental selection of small and large plates are an explosion of colour and vibrancy. One of Botanique's standout dishes is the lion’s mane scallop - light tempura mushrooms with dill, caper, aioli and lemon. Mushrooms expertly replicate the texture of scallops and the light, crispy tempura is complemented beautifully by a pop of sharpness from the capers. Elsewhere, the beetroot with miso glaze, pistachio crumb and pickled blackberries tastes like summer on a plate. It's a real seasonal triumph, combining sweet and earthy flavours from British gardens and hedgerows.
When it comes to the big plates the aubergine is good, but the mushroom dish with fava bean purée and samphire is the winner. Oyster, shimeji and enoki mushrooms create a heady mix of sweet and umami flavours, lifted beautifully by the truffle. Large plates are £15-£17, while small plates and desserts vary between £5-£10. This seems reasonably priced for such a fine-dining experience and small plates are generously sized.
The plant to plate narrative is exquisitely executed by head chef Josie Hawkins and her talented team. They aim to source local produce and use the entire plant, resulting in experimental elements like carrot-top pesto and beetroot-top marmalade (bread platter accompaniments).
Botanique’s menu is a true celebration of the humble plant and each dish is named after a vegetable. This may sound simplistic but the dishes are edible pieces of art, served on natural, recycled crockery.
When it comes to desserts, the love mousse has the wow factor - a hard chocolate shell with light whipped mousse filling and a vibrant smattering of freeze-dried raspberry dust.
*All information correct at time of writing. Menus subject to change.