We almost passed for Sloaney Ponys. We were all girls, mostly blonde and we were having a leisurely Sunday lunch at The Botanist on Sloane Square. It was only if you managed to get a bit closer and hear the Australian accents and rather un-Sloane conversations that the illusion was dispelled. If you are not English you should know that Sloaney Ponys are the types of girls who have incredibly wealthy parents, wear their hair in high ponytails with a discreet string of pearls around their necks, have boyfriends called Harry or Henry and describe things as jolly.
I must admit that it was rather jolly to be ladies who lunch for a day at Tom and Ed Martin’s latest restaurant offering. The interior is light and airy with blonde wood, cream coloured chairs and botanical prints on the wall in a nod to the restaurant’s name which is a further nod to Hans Sloane the botanist after which the square is named. Our waiter was charming in the way that waiters can only be with an all female table and cheerfully upsold us from a bottle of champagne to a magnum (yes it was that sort of lunch) and from six oysters to a dozen.
The oysters were Colchester oysters and were served with a red wine vinegar and shallot dipping sauce. They tasted of the ocean as all good oysters should and our waiter could probably have easily upsold another dozen to us.
The entree of scallops sounded so delicious that I could not help but to request it as a main. At The Botanist this was not too much trouble (as of course it should not be). The scallops were pan fried and served with some sauteed new potatoes and a heap of rocket topped with slivers of pears and bacon salad. To top it off the dish was drizzled with a rich truffle dressing. There was a lot going on but it all worked to deliver a light but satisfying dish.
Since we were all girls we decided that we absolutely must order almost the entire dessert menu and share it between us. Truly the only thing better than dessert is sharing several desserts. A wedge of pecan pie accompanied by clotted cream ice cream was sweet and fudgy. Our chocoholic tendencies were sated by the chocolate brownie which was doused in warm chocolate sauce and served with chantilly cream. However, the beauty pageant winner was the hot chocolate pot which came with fresh strawberries and creme fraiche. The dense chocolate exterior concealed a river of molten chocolate which had us all battling with our dessert spoons to steal a taste.
It may be all about the scene and being seen at The Botanist but we also enjoyed an excellent meal with attentive (and did I mention charming) service. Just for an afternoon at least the life of a Sloaney Pony seems very appealing.
Details: 7 Sloane Square, Chelsea SW1W 8EE (Ph 020 7730 0077)