As Australians we are stereotypically known for our hot summers, thong tans and love of throwing particularly carnivorous BBQ’s. Steak. Snags. A few lettuce leaves – if necessary. This summer I urge you to be the guest who brings a salad. A Botanica salad in particular.
One trip here and you’ll never utter the phrase “you don’t make friends with salad” ever again.
At first it’s the large bold letters that elegantly fill a shop-front window on Enogerra Terrace that catches your eye – but it’s the drool worthy muffins, brownies and treats (gluten-free) that truly capture your attention and “take the cake” pun intended.
Self-described as real food takeaway, Botanica opened it’s doors in January 2013 and has established itself as one of Brisbane’s healthy gems.
The shop itself is tiny. It’s not overdramatic to say it was crowded with only five customers, our elbows bumping as we each tried to get a look at the array of vegetarian and vegan gourmet salads on display.
The shop doesn’t need to be any bigger it’s beauty is in its simplicity. The words that come to mind are “quality over quantity”. Everything, except the food, is fairly basic. The whole demeanour of the store is elegant, charming and the decor emits an almost historical feel.
Two young women stood behind a glass cabinet containing large wooden bowls holding fresh and vibrant looking salads. No limp beans here.
With three container sizes to choose from (small, medium & family), the girls pack in (and I do mean pack) any or all salads of the customer’s choice.
I choose the size small with a combination of three of the six available salads. To describe them as simply salads, seems like an gross undersell.
Kale, parmesan and sourdough croutons w/ roasted garlic dressing – was to die for and just when I didn’t think it could or would get any better, I tasted the second salad;
Wild brown rice, pumpkin, roast peppers, onion and baby spinach w/ soy & coriander dressing.
Last but not least was the:
Shaved raw broccoli salad w/ dehydrated cranberries, almonds, raw garlic & cashew cream.
I honestly can’t choose a clear winner. All the salads were fresh and most importantly crisp and not soggy. Each had components and tastes that may sound slightly frightening to someone who doesn’t usually stray from a traditional caesar salad, worked and blended extremely well together.
After only having small breakfast, come lunch time I was ravished but after eating only this much I was already starting to feel full. Insane right?
For $10. I’m not ashamed to admit I got two meals out of this serving and even the next day it still tasted amazing. As a university student I can’t deny that’s a definite bonus.
I can’t personally comment on the baked goods as I didn’t indulge in any, but a fellow foodie told me she not only loved them, but her fussy and standard bakery cake loving husband & children did also. She commented however that for anyone who doesn’t cook/eat gluten free sweets I to be warned they are heavier and denser than your average run-of the mill processed unhealthy treats.
My only critic would be there is no labelling on any of the food. Although you can make a guess by looking at the salads, it isn’t abundantly clear and it can feel like you are being a nuisance & holding up the queue to ask staff, for what I’m sure is the hundredth time that day, to name each dish.
As a food and health conscious person what I appreciate about Botanica is that it is what it claims to be – healthy and nutritious. Unlike many cafe’s and restaurants who can somewhat trick those trying to make healthy choices, when really their salads are full of unnecessary sugars and unhealthy additions.
Botanica is a breath of fresh air this summer.
- okay i’m out of cliches, puns and slightly tacky one-liners. I hope you enjoyed reading this review. Please note all views are my own.