Food banter with Botanica
06 Oct 2014
Making life a little easier one kale leaf at a time, Botanica is almost single handedly responsible for making mealtimes healthier Brisbane wide. Their cabinets full of fresh, wholesome salads made in store each day are a dream fulfilled for the health conscious out there (even if it’s only the occasionally conscious): fast, tasty and healthy takeaway. And now, breakfast is whole lot easier too, with strawberries and cream chia seed puddings, coconut yogurt and fruity bircher mueslis available for early morning feeds. Botanica devotees (which we are proudly amongst) will tell you not to go past the unbelievably delicious kale or broccoli salads (seriously, they are crazy good), but their vegan and gluten free baked goodies are pretty irresistible as well. We had a chat to owner Ali about Botanica’s delicious salads, how the store came to be and the story behind those cinnamon bundt donuts of theirs. Describe what it is you do so well in a sentence, you’re allowed to be modest. We make eating healthily easy, delicious, affordable and addictive. Tell us who, of all the amazing things that you produce, is your favourite child? Our toasted coconut cupcake with coconut caramel is our current favorite. We bake a delicious gluten free vanilla bean almond meal cake, inject coconut caramel into the centre, ice it with buttercream and finally, dip it into toasted coconut. What’s the strangest thing you ever did to come up with a concept, menu item or product? Be pregnant! I was 3 months pregnant when we opened Botanica and I was constantly craving cinnamon donuts but I was always too busy to leave the shop and get one. One morning as I was pulling the hot cinnamon friands from the oven I thought: I could roll these in cinnamon sugar…and the rest is history. How did it all begin? We wanted to create something we could be proud of and it was impossible to deny that there was a huge gap in the market for tasty original meals that were also healthy. What does a typical week at work involve for you, besides “Full on!” For me it is a constant juggling act to make sure both my babies, Botanica and Immie, are getting enough attention. Luckily, Brett (partner and co-owner) picks up the bulk of the work in the shop and in reality I spend the majority of my week responding to catering requests, managing the accounts and most importantly, on menu development. The latter has kept me very busy lately! What is your proudest achievement to date? Christmas Eve 2013. To see the crowd of customers lined up around the corner to purchase Botanica salads to share with family and friends on the biggest celebration day of the year was very humbling. An extremely proud moment for us as new business owners. Where is the best salad (other than Botanica!) that you have ever tasted? My mother makes the most delicious salad for our family Christmas of mango, cucumber, mint and prawns. It tastes like summer, Queensland and Christmas in a bowl. Where/what was the last great meal you ate in Brisbane? I can’t go past the bouillabaisse at Montrachet. We were just there recently for Brett’s birthday and I had decided on my meal before I even looked at the menu. Add crusty bread, garlicky rouille and a crisp white – perfect! So whether it’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner or your next family gathering, get your mitts on a box of Botanica from their cute little shop in Red Hill the next time you need some fresh takeaway. Breakfast is available Tuesday to Friday from 6-9am, while salads and sweet treats are on offer from 9am-6pm Tuesday to Sunday (5pm on weekends).