I feel like I should have disclaimer-ed this review with 'DO NOT READ IF YOU ARE HUNGRY', but you're all going to have to forgive me - this was too good to hold back on.

You guys might have read in last week's Friday Shared that the man and I were heading off to Chester to go visit our old haunts and stop in for a bite at the new (to us) The Botanist restaurant. Things didn't exactly go to plan (we spent around 5 hours on the motorway on what should have been a 3 hour journey tops), but we arrived, albeit waaaaay later than anticipated, for an early dinner/late lunch at around 4pm. J noticed a gathering of people and there was some murmuring about a one hour wait but, to my delight, as soon as I asked for a table for two we were whisked upstairs and seated immediately. A+.

The interiors of this place are just beautiful. If you follow me on Instagram you were no doubt spammed with the decor and food porn that was this meal - sorry, not sorry. As you can guess from the name, everything inside is themed around botany and gardening, and it really gives the place a quirky, cool vibe. Boyf described it as 'girly', but quickly warmed to the idea when our starter came in a cute little picnic basket, and he tasted the food.

Without rambling on for too long about how cute everything was, the food should be the star of the show. And, oddly, I'm not sure it was. We ordered the chicken wings with bleu cheese sauce to start (not pictured) and whilst really tasty, the sauce hadn't been refrigerated (bit of a downer for me) and the batter on the wings was a little lacklustre. For our main course, I ordered a deli board with chorizo, parma ham, hummus and greek salad, with a side of cheesy fries. My board also came with Turkish flatbread, which was hot and fluffy. The deli board was gorgeous and thoughtfully presented, everything was really delicious and proportioned well, if a little generous with the hummus. The cheesy fries, whilst completely addictive, I was a little disappointed with - my boyfriend had a steak sandwich with fries and my portion was identical to his, just with a slice of cheese melted on top. It seemed a little uninventive considering they're advertised as their own side.

However, J said his steak sandwich was really great and, let's get down to it, the fries are stunning. Well-seasoned, crispy and fluffy, it was a home-run. We were both seriously stuffed after our meal, and stayed satisfied for the rest of the evening. Presentation, again, was fantastic - from the picnic basket full of wings to the cute vintage style crockery J's sandwich came on, it was all beautiful and totally in-keeping with the vibe of the place. It did make me wonder, however, if maybe this restaurant erred on style rather than substance.

Our waitress (who I think was called Karima? Katrina?) was fantastic, the restaurant manager came over to check on us and service was super punctual - the staff here are great. Even the girl I spoke to repeatedly on the phone about our 2pm reservation as the traffic situation got more and more bleak, was polite and friendly to a fault. Chester hospitality is just as I remember it - some of the best in the country.

So I guess my feelings are pretty mixed! I'll openly admit I had pretty high expectations. Was I blown away? Not really. But then perhaps all it was was a case of poor choosing - this restaurant is known for its grills and cocktails, and we chose a little off-piste. I'd definitely visit again and be a little more adventurous with our menu choices next time. The Botanist is a really nice addition to Chester, and I look forward to my next visit... if only to give the dessert menu a try!

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