24/11/16 : A SmartPoints Friendly Steak Dinner at The Botanist, Newcastle
Newcastle is my favourite city! Growing up on its doorstep means I visit the ‘toon’ a lot: for romantic meals, cocktails with the girls and for work meetings. There’s something for everyone here and I couldn’t wait to try The Botanist and see whether it lived up to the hype, and most importantly, if it was worthy of a Weight Watchers Stamp of Approval!
Having tried (and failed) so many times to get a reservation over the last few months, I was expecting good things from this place. I travelled here after work with my sisters and Sharon, my lovely Weight Watchers leader, knowing they’d give their honest opinions on the food and drink options for fellow Weight Watchers members to sample.
This place is adorable, especially on a winter’s night. The restaurant takes over the entire first floor and part of the second floor, with a large bar area sitting under the huge domed glass roof, where locals mingle and enjoy live music. Keep going up the stairs to the rooftop and there’s a gorgeous little Scandinavian bar area, with amazing views of Greys Monument and the city. This is my kind of place and I was starting to understand the hype!
Now, it was a Tuesday night and I don’t normally eat out this close to a weigh in (Thursday), which I think is a challenge in itself, but I was determined to find options which are tasty, satisfying and not too heavy on your daily allowance.
Armed with 17 SmartPoints left for the day and three weekly SmartPoints (I know, it’s the worst feeling when it gets down to single figures: roll on Thursday), I checked the menu online and I was adamant I wasn’t going to change my mind on the two sensible choices I’d picked!
To start, Sharon and myself ordered the Pea & Ham Soup, which came with a small slice of wholemeal bread in THE cutest little plant pot/cup! At six SmartPoints, it was a great Weight Watchers friendly choice and it was absolutely gorgeous - just the right amount for a starter. My sisters opted for the homemade Scotch Egg (guessing around 8SP) and baby Chipolatas (7SP), which were both served just as cutely as my starter, presented in little colanders and floral plates. Every plate, cup and colander was left empty and I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for my main course!
I’d fancied the Flattened Rump Steak all day, but was worried it might come in too high on SmartPoints value with the chips. So, I decided to swap the chips for a 0SP salad and a 2SP small corn cobette (I know, I surprised myself)! Making this substitute probably saved me around 15SP and it felt good. The steak was huge, served a bit pink and was full of peppery flavour. The bowl of salad had a delicious honey mustard vinaigrette, which gave it a punchy tang. I really, really enjoyed it and the whole course was only 9SP! Whoever said you couldn’t eat out on Weight Watchers really needs to try The Botanist!
Sharon was also equally pleased with her Sea Bass, which came on a bed of spinach with a tomato salsa. It looked and smelled delicious, and with a SmartPoints value no more than approximately 5SP, a really light and healthy choice, kept her on plan and within her 30SP daily allowance.
My sisters devoured their Malaysian Chicken Curries. With just the right amount of steamed rice (6SP), this place really gets portion sizes right. Nothing is over the top or too heavy and the food is lovely, light and really tasty!
Dessert menu time…Knowing I only had 2SP remaining for the day I already had my mind made up. I ordered a pot of Peppermint Tea (0SP) to finish the meal and my sisters (who aren’t following Weight Watchers) tucked into a Rice Pudding and Chocolate Fudge Cake. I must admit, the desserts looked really nice, but I chose to stay strong and sipped my tea, which very Alice in Wonderland-esque with its vintage floral patterns.
So, here’s how my trip to The Botanist fit into my day: -
1 Medium Bowl Bran Flakes – 4SP
125mls Skimmed Milk – 2SP
Blueberries – 0SP
Total – 6SP
Medium Baked Potato – 7SP
Mixed Side Salad – 0SP
15g Cheddar Cheese – 2SP
Total – 9SP
Pea & Ham Soup with Slice of Bread (no butter) - 6SP
Flattened Steak & Salad – 7SP
½ corn on the cob – 2SP
2 x Diet Pepsi – 0SP
Peppermint Tea – 0SP
Total – 15SP
Fruit Salad - 0SP
1tbsp Reduced Fat Crème Fraiche - 2SP
1 tsp Honey – 1SP
Total – 3SP
Daily Allowance Used: 33SP
Daily Allowance Remaining: 2SP
Weekly Allowance Remaining: 3SP
The Botanist has been my favourite place on my #WWDinesOut adventure so far. The food, the ambience, the staff, the location, the drinks, the bar, and the live music: it’s just got all the makings of a knockout restaurant!
Most importantly, the food we had ticked the boxes in terms of what to look for when eating out with Weight Watchers. We guesstimated that most starters came in under the 10SP mark and our waiting staff were happy to change any ingredients or swap side
orders. This isn’t heavy, overindulgent food. This is just enough of what you want in a gorgeous setting. I can’t wait to go back!
This place definitely gets mine (and my Weight Watchers leader’s) Stamp of Approval!
Next stop I’m sampling Thai cuisine for a birthday with the girls in Leeds. Follow me on my social media channels and use the hashtag #WWDinesOut to see where I’m at and what I’m up to this week.
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