Indulge in a range of drinks and nibbles at Botanika Bar, a new conceptual hotspot with Scandinavian designer digs
We’ve given a few weeks to Botanika, one of the latest additions to the cocktail bar scene in Tel Aviv before going to check them out. During that time, we kept hearing about how different they were from what is “expected” from high-end cocktails bar. Indeed, where most cocktail bars here aim for a focus of extravagant presentation, classic bar food and playful decor, Botanika could not be any further from that.
The main reason behind that is the fact that the concept was originally developed by Liquid Management, a Scandinavian-based, international beverage consultancy agency, that set out to create a unique feeling and design, true to their quality standards and their Nordic influences. The result – Botanika TLV -is a venue like no other in town. Out with the dark mahogany and bulky furniture, and in with the Scandinavian aesthetic of function and minimalism. The warm, friendly and sexy venue features a unique bar design where lucky patrons can cozy up in the actual production area, side by side with the bartenders.
We often hear from Niso, the General Manager and a well-established cocktail bartender in the city, that anyone can create a dish or cocktail using loads of ingredients. But using few is where the talent and the quality are truly tested. He speaks of the importance of each ingredient they use, and how they always want to stay true to the main spirit or flavor; be it a rare Rye whiskey, or their house made Aquavit (a very Scandinavian spiced spirit with caraway and fennel)
And after thorough sampling of the menu, we are inclined to agree.
Their chef, a well-respected local professional, has managed to apply the same ideas into the kitchen. Out with strong flavors and heavy sauces and in with a more sober style of cooking, where each ingredient brings its own value to the dish. If one fails, in quality or cooking, the dish fails. A daring task indeed, which once again is pulled off spectacularly.
Local fish have never been trusted to taste this good, and this is something we think is particularly important: Botanika is an Israeli bar, proud to use local produce across the board. Additionally, its very daring all-Israeli wine and beer selection is only a well-due reminder that Israel has a booming brewing and wine-making industry which needs local bars to endorse and advocate.
We fell in love with "Botanika New Fashioned" (very reasonably priced at 48 nis), an old fashioned Irish whiskey with a strawberry stout foam. No garnish, no plastic dragon hanging from the side of the glass, and no elaborate fancy glassware. A clear, straight glass and a perfect combination of flavors.
We were captivated by the Israeli wild shrimps, flash-steamed at the table with a broth of aquavit, decorated with just a few grains of salt and perfectly paired with a glass of champagne.
We could go on forever about their approach to ice (they make their own crystal-clear 150 kg ice blocks on site) or their hip flask cocktails, but all of these will be better experienced first hand. The pricing is below average for cocktail bars making sampling several dishes and cocktails an affordable evening. Botanika is still a bit of a well-kept secret. We suspect it won’t stay that way for long.
78 Ha'Yarkon St, Tel Aviv (03-9330339/Botanikatlv.com)