The Botanical in South Yarra has been around for years, although it's quite different these days. Now owned by the Colonial Leisure Group (who own many pubs around town including Lamaro’s, Bimbo Deluxe and the Lucky Coq) the space uses earthy dark woods, booth seats and partitioned areas with shades of toffee, caramel and blacks, using deep blues and greens out towards the back. The contemporary artwork is urban, edgy and a counterpoint to a striking but comfortable environment.
There’s a casual dining area as soon as you walk in, which is designed to cater for breakfast after a walk around the Tan, a quick coffee, easy lunch or dinner (there’s schnitzel with remoulade, flathead with chips). A more formal dining room runs alongside the kitchen where executive chef, Luke Brabin (protégé of the respected ‘father of fusion’ Cheong Lieuw) serves a menu of classic Australian dishes including roast lamb rump, pan fried pork chop, beef burger and wild mushroom tart.
The diner has absolute flexibility in the menu structure, and the wine list here is also a highlight. The wine wall from The Bot’s (as it is known by locals) former life is alive and well as well, incarnated as the bottle shop – look out for tastings with wine makers from small boutique wineries.