restaurant review #159 – Le Botaniste is a vegan restaurant in the city center of Ghent. I visited shortly after it opened and wrote a review here. I was in Ghent a couple of weeks ago to buy some items at nearby shop Moor & Moor (see review here) and a couple of little springform pans to make my own vegan cheeses at next door shop Dille and Kamille.
All in the same neighboorhood, so I decided to combine it with lunch at Le Botaniste.
Le Botaniste is founded by Alain Coumont, the same founder of world wide chain Le Pain Quotidien.
The first room one enters at Le Botaniste (where one orders and the food is prepared) is very nice and refers to an old pharmacist shop, with old bottles and jars lined up, and ‘prescriptions’ written on the menu.
Behind that, are two smaller rooms to take a seat, one with mainly high barstools, and in the veranda at the back a long communal table with benches, and a handful of tables for two. So it’s not a restaurant where you can sit back and relax (there are no chairs with back rest). I also noticed some of the stools in the veranda seemed to be covered with leather, which is quite odd for a vegan restaurant.
Le Botaniste is self-service. The large chalk board at the counter mentions the menu, and most dishes are also stalled in the counter. It was quite a wait before I could place my order (long queue) and take the food with me on a tray to my seating place.
It was a full house that noon, and nearly all seatings places were taken. Quite busy and noisy.
I had the spingrolls (5,95€) and the coconut curry with peanut and kimchi (9,95€). I asked whether the wines are vegan and this was confirmed.
The food was nice. I especially liked the springroll. The coconut curry bowl was a bit monotone in flavours, and started to get boring after a couple of bites. Good to see the throwaway dishes from the opening period of the restaurant have been replaced with nice ceramics.
The toilet at the back was a bit shabby and could be cleaner (nearly without toilet paper too). Pleasantly surprised to see vegan soap! But there was a very wet and very dirty towel to dry ones hands (see photo). No way I would touch that to dry my hands, and I hope the staff doesn’t either 😦
Some more photos from Le Botaniste:
All in all: the food was nice. But the comfort, and the hygiene of the toilet leave to be desired. It was a very busy and crowed atmosphere. Taking all these into account, ànd the fact that it is self service (and as such a bit on the expensive side for being self-service), I felt a bit disappointed with my lunch at Le Botaniste.
Le Botaniste, location