Flora or Fauna?
The Botanist does better
The Botanist, located in the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, was the first restaurant I noticed heavily advertising on YouTube via pre-roll ads. The food was picturesque. The restaurant was billed as progressive, local, and flora focused. The stunning visuals had me intrigued; who says advertising doesn’t work anymore.
This was a staff dinner, so I’m giving just the broad strokes especially with this last dinner.
As each appetizer arrived to the table, the plates lived up to the YouTube ads. The food was plated beautifully and is Instagram worthy. Below are some of my colleagues’ plates, which they seemed to enjoy. Pictured are the Lobster appetizer and the chocolate dessert (I think – end of meal, things got a bit hazy).
Even the complimentary bread was leaf shaped, consistent with branding for the restaurant.
Usually plants tend to take a back seat to feature protein in a dish. In many cases, it can’t be helped since some protein, like red meat, are so heavy that their flavour just overwhelms most vegetable sidekicks. I wanted to see if Botanist could elevate plants so they are more equal.
My seared scallops paired really well with the sweet tart apple component. Every element in the dish had a role in creating an enjoyable bite. This was a good sign.
My halibut entrée was customized, as my asparagus allergy became an issue for the kitchen. My companions’ dish had a pastoral field vibe; mine on the other hand, looked like a garden of vibrant summery wild flowers.
The little bulbs of red radishes (an underrated vegetable for cooking in my personal opinion), yellow squash and green romanesco broccoli were bathed in a buttery and savoury stock. The vegetables were delicious.
In contrast, the fish had the right fresh, light and sweet flavour but it was overcooked. The tough fish took a back seat to the vegetables.
As much as the fish was a disappointment, the dessert made up for it. The beetroot cake is a sweet I will think about for a while with fondness.
The ruby coloured concoction was airy, light and effortless to chew. This dainty dessert was not overly sugary, which suited me fine. It was a great way to end the meal.
Overall I thought Botanist did a fairly good job executing what they were messaging. My dinner was not flawless but it was still good enough to be memorable. The food did make me wonder how a vegetarian menu would taste given the deft handling of the plant matter that night. I’m willing to return to Botanist to find that out.
Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel
1038 Canada Place
Vancouver, BC V6C 0B9
Phone: (604) 695-5500