• Martin Packard

Does Botanical Dining Work?

With COP26 a recent memory and environmental issues at the forefront of everyone’s minds how is this affecting hospitality?

It’s no secret that there has been a return to nature during the various lockdowns and restrictions. Whether it be exploratory walks in the neighbourhood to find a secluded overgrown paradise or developing your own outdoor spaces, a haven to sneak away to with a good book. I myself have joined a group of year round open water swimmers. There is no doubt that getting back to nature, however we do it, makes us feel like everything is ok with the World, it’s all going to be just fine.

There is an expanding trend that has gone one step further than provenance, botanical restaurants and you can choose from luxury outdoor dining or extensive indoor planting.

Whilst The Ivy Chelsea Garden does a fantastic job of surrounding you with every shade of green with year round al fresco dining, Petersham Nurseries does a fantastic job indoors where you will be surrounded by bougainvillea and jasmine. For the best of both Worlds why not try Clos Maggiore in Covent Garden where you will dine under a canopy of cherry blossom and with a retractable glass roof, they really have thought of everything.

Food always tastes better outdoors and by eating indoors surrounded by an abundance of foliage, I think it has the same effect. Psychologists have found that our physical sensation and emotional response is greatly improved by our environment. For example, when a meal is prepared in a space we feel connected to, like the great outdoors, our senses are enhanced. Think about it. Food is a combination of all the senses.

Being in a relaxing environment means we take our time, it brings out an animal instinct and increases our anticipation of the food about to arrive. If you are in an environment that reminds you of the place the food came from, its only natural.

Botanical restaurants are popping up all over the World, why not take a trip back to nature the next time your choosing a meal out and you might enjoy your food more than ever before.

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