The Botanical Garden
New Bird Street, Baltic Triangle, Liverpool
Words by Sarah Brown
The Botanical Garden is already famed amongst Liverpool’s favourite summer venues, and its annual opening is now one of the first tell-tale signs that sunnier days are on their way.
As it’s back for its third year with new pop-up food offering Ta’amiya up and running for the summer, I couldn’t wait to see what The Botanical Garden has in store for 2017.
Hidden over in the city’s Baltic Triangle, the laid-back space is a vibrant concoction of urban graffiti, exposed bricks and industrial oil drums, contrasted against the garden’s signature blooms and vintage finishes.
With an evening chill in the air, we were relieved to find a spot by the open fire pit before turning our attention to the extensive choice of gin on offer.
The East Side Fizz gin cocktail (£7.50) immediately caught my attention, combining lemon and sugar muddled with cucumber and mint, served long and topped with soda. The classic combination proved a light and refreshing start to the evening.
My date had his eye on his favourite version of the spirit but was persuaded to try the gin of the week under the expert guidance of our bar tender – Dingle gin served with tonic in a classic goblet (£6.50). This choice offered something different to his usual, but with similar botanicals to his preferred tipple.
Drinks in hand, we headed over to the food hatch to see what culinary delights were on offer. The brainchild of Michael Carey, former head chef at Rodney Street eatery Puschka, Ta’amiya serves up a select assortment of Moroccan street food.
I plumped for the Mechoui Lamb Wrap (£5) as my main dish, while my dining partner ordered a Merguez Meatball Wrap (£5), with a portion of fries to share (£3).
The Mechoui Lamb Wrap was the unanimous highlight of the meal, generously filled with tender lamb steak marinated in Ta’amiya’s special North African spice rub. Served with salad, orange zest, pomegranate seeds and tahini sauce, the heady flavour combinations brought together aromatic spices with a tangy zest.
The Merguez Meatball Wrap was also a hit, filled with juicy minced beef meatballs delicately spiced with harissa, fennel seed, sumac and garlic; fried and served with chopped chilli and chermoula sauce.
And of course, we couldn’t walk away without sampling Ta’amiya’s signature falafel. Falafel comes served with flatbread and salad, with a selection of blends to choose from.
We opted to try the Berliner (£4) – intensely curried butterbean falafel topped off with currywurst sauce and garlic mayo. The falafel was light and fluffy, with the currywurst sauce providing a welcome twist to the classic North African flavours.
To round the evening off we decided to sample another of the garden’s gin cocktails as we made the most of the roaring fire. While my date chose to try the trusty East Side Fizz for himself, I decided to sample one from the menu’s ‘unusual’ selection, promising a cocktail combination with a little bit of a difference.
The Genever Jamble (£7.50) was a fruity little number, combining genever, blackcurrant jam and lemon, shaken with sage and finished with Laphroaig whiskey.
Ta’amiya is undoubtedly going to be a hit this year, bringing a tasty slice of North African sunshine to New Bird Street. Combine this with The Botanical Garden’s burgeoning gin selection and informal surroundings, and you have the perfect summer’s afternoon.