The Botanist (219 Onepu Road, Lyall Bay)
Lyall Bay’s latest addition, The Botanist, is off to a cracker of a start. It only opened in January 2017, and already I feel like most people I have spoken to have either been there or it’s on their to-do list. A few of us headed out there the other weekend to give it a test. Located on the corner, very close to Maranui, the cafe seems to have been converted from what looks like a house. There is a lot going on; patterned floors, lots of (fake) shrubbery and ivy, and also a rustic setting with a wall of (fake) bricks. It is light and spacious, with a nice courtyard area that seemed pretty sheltered (but who knows in Wellington!?).
We got a bit of a shock when we looked at the menu – we knew that it was supposed to vegetarian and vegan friendly, but we didn’t realise that it was strictly that – no meat whatsoever! Not that any of us were opposed to eating vegetarian, it was just odd to have that choice taken away from us. The menu was very interesting; lots on there tempted me! In the end I couldn’t resist the haloumi, mainly because I really felt like fries, but also because I was starving and I wanted to make sure it was going to be a big enough meal.
When we ordered, our waitress advised us of the 40 minute wait – which we presumed was on the conservative side, but she wasn’t kidding. Not that any of us had places to be – but the cafe just didn’t seem quite busy enough to justify that long a wait. We put it down to them still finding their feet, and it was worth the wait: the food was delicious. (Admittedly, none of us was keen to try the soy sausages or the facon (‘fake bacon’) so that part of the menu remains to be reviewed…)