Decent suburban pub with a big shady courtyard.Our rating:
I can remember The Botanica Bar & Bistro being all the rage a few years back, it was the newest of only two pubs in the Innaloo area, the other being The Saint and it’s Sunday sessions were famous throughout Perth’s Northern Suburbs. This was the first time I had been back in a couple of years and the first time I actually sat down to have a meal. A mate and I were going to see the new Bond flick (grossly overrated in my opinion, but this isn’t a movie review site so I won’t go on about it) so what better place to grab some dinner than the pub across the road, The Botanica Bar & Bistro on Scarborough beach road.
Seeing as it was a balmy summer’s night, the outside area seemed like a perfect place to sit, so we got a few beers and menus from the bar and chose a spot on the non-smoking side of the courtyard, which didn’t really make much of a difference on this particular night. There was a mild easterly breeze blowing the smoke across to the non-smoking side which was unpleasant but not unbearable for us. The Botanica is a huge pub by any standard, there's even a separate sports bar with a TAB around the side, where the less "dressy" patrons are kindly asked to direct themselves.
The place was pretty packed for a Tuesday night and service at the bar was really good, staff were friendly and generally helpful. The same could not be said for the wait staff, who struggled to grasp the concept of removing dirty dishes from tables. Maybe they were understaffed on the night, but everywhere you looked there were dirty dishes stacking up and ours were not cleared, even after we left they were still sittong on our table.
Unfortunately the food that once occupied our lingering dishes wasn't that flash either. My mate had the surf and turf, the surf part was great - a mixture of fresh seafood in a good creamy sauce, the turf was however a tad overcooked but nevertheless still a good cut of beef. I ordered the "chefs own ribs, with smoky BBQ sauce", the ribs were ok, I’m a bit biased when it comes to ribs, as in my opinion Squires Loft in Subiaco blows everything out of water when it comes to ribs in Perth. The let down was the sauce, it tasted like it came from a plastic "easy-squeeze" bottle you’d find sitting on a supermarket shelf, nothing particularly 'smoky' or homemade about it. The chips were the dishes saving grace, great batter, flavour and just the right amount on the plate.
Overall prices weren't too bad, considering it's an upmarket suburban pub. Most pints were at or just under the $10 mark (slightly more for ‘premium’ beers), the food was relatively inexpensive too, but I just couldn't see the value in it given the quality on the night. I think the next time I come back I might just stick to ordering pub standards (steak sangas, fish and chips etc) or even the snack food, chips/wedges etc.