It was not my first trip to the Jolly Botanist when I popped in for lunch, on a gloriously sunny day, but it was the first time I was minded to stay for food and indeed there was enough table space to do so.

I’d visited previously for the fateful Scotland v Italy rugby match, which doesn’t rank among my happiest sporting memories. I’d been in for a quick drink prior to the Edinburgh Salon, too. I like the pared-back setting up to a point. It’s modish, over-styled and not really my thing, but it’s smart enough and was shown to good advantage on this bright day.



I was joined by Claire, who was questing for the first time. We started with some drinks, with Claire sampling a tasty basilito while I stuck to more routine lager. Their gin range is definitely where the strength of the drinks menu lies.

Their food selection is a slightly unusual mix of sharing starters and main dishes. These are a crossover between pub grub favourites and restaurant dishes. I’m not sure about whether I would ever be in the right mood to match pizza bread with carpaccio, for example, but you never know.



We kept things simple and opted to try their burgers. These promptly arrived looking every bit the kind of thing that We Want Plates would loathe.

The burger proved to be pretty good. It was slightly dry in parts, but overall had good moisture and flavour. The brioche bun had good integrity. The chips and slaw weren’t up to much, but the ketchup had a good smokiness to it.

So overall, I’m still not 100% convinced by the Jolly Botanist, but I did enjoy their burger. I think it’s more of a drinks place, though. It will be interesting to see how things develop over time, as it still feels like it’s trying too hard to be all things to all men, for now. I think it does have a good opportunity to carve a niche for itself in this neighbourhood, though.

Blythe scores the Jolly Botanist
3.5/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
3/5 for setting
3/5 for service
giving an overall 13/20

Today’s questers were: Claire, Blythe

We ate: Botanist burger (2)

We drank: basilito, Moretti, coffees

We wore: birthday socks, posh sun specs

Total bill: £33.20

Written by BKR