Not to boast, but we’re pretty pumped that Brisbane fave, Botanica Real Food has opened up their long awaited second location mere minutes from our offices. Not only does it mean we no longer have to agonise over eating our own terrible attempts at home made salads (basically tinned tuna with rocket, inspiring!), their downright delicious not-that-bad-for-you strawberry cupcakes and sweet treats are now almost a daily feature at TUL HQ. #blessed.
To celebrate the Newstead windfall, and the launch of their new winter soups available for take away (yum!) we caught up with owners Alison and Brett to chat all things Botanica 2.0!
Botanica has gone from strength to strength! How does it feel to have just opened a second store?
It was quite nerve wracking opening a second store, but it’s like having a second child—there’s no turning back. So far the response has been amazing and we have loved welcoming people to our new location. Our store is full of our delicious, real food from 8am right up until 6pm, so we are really providing an option that has previously been missing from the area. I think the real secret to our success has been hard work and our commitment to quality, but most of all it’s about the fact that we love what we do.
Why do you think that Botanica has been such a hit with Brisbane locals?
We are seeing so many new faces and reliving that excitement of introducing people to the Botanica Real Food concept all over again. People are starting to realise it’s not just about stopping in for lunch, they can use these salads for their next dinner party, or when life is just too hectic to worry about cooking. We’re providing people with solutions that genuinely make their lives a lot easier.
What are your favourite ingredients to cook with?
As the months are getting cooler it is so easy to crave comfort foods, so roasting up some winter vegetables and grains is delicious! We love creating new recipes and always use a lot of herbs in our recipe development. They are a key because they are so incredibly good for you and add a huge flavour punch without any nasties.
How do you keep things fresh and exciting in the Botanica kitchen?
When you are getting hundreds of kilograms of beautiful fresh produce delivered daily this is where your inspiration comes from. It has been an awakening owning a shop that doesn’t sell or prepare any meat products because it really forces you to think about the meals you are creating and how the wonderful produce we receive can be turned into an inspiring dish. We are both professionally trained chefs so the years of experience between us mean we have an abundance of flavours to draw upon. There are always some flavours that just ‘work’ so it’s about fleshing out combinations with something new and interesting.
What is your favourite thing currently on the menu?
We are about to introduce our soups and I cannot wait to eat them! We have a different soup every day but my favourite is definitely the roasted cauliflower and chickpea with pan seared kale and sesame seeds. It so velvety smooth and earthy. Absolutely amazing!
How To Make Botanica’s Roasted Cauliflower Soup
1 head of cauliflower
1 brown onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 Litre of homemade vegetable stock
4 Kale leaves sliced
1 cup cooked chickpeas
4 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
Cut cauliflower into medium sized florets and lightly toss in olive oil with a teaspoon of salt. Roast in a medium oven until tender and lightly golden (approximately 30 minutes). Sweat onion and garlic in a saucepan until they are soft. Add cauliflower and vegetable stock. Simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before pureeing. Add dijon mustard as you blend and more salt if necessary. Meanwhile in a frying pan saute the sliced kale in salt, pepper and olive oil until it begins to wilt and becomes a deep green colour.
Sprinkle the chickpeas over the top of the soup, then top with sautéed kale. Garnish with a teaspoon of sesame seeds and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy
Image credits: Yaseera Moosa