SINCE it opened late last year to much fanfare, the Botanist has been the golden goose of Warrington for both eating and drinking.

If you log onto Instagram on any given weekend these days, you won’t be able to move for pictures of the bar and restaurant’s ornate decor, hanging plants and extravagant water feature.

It’s almost like an uber trendy Rainforest Cafe for grown ups, as anyone who attended a kids’ birthday party at the Trafford Centre in the late 90s will be able to attest to (gone but not forgotten).

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But does the grub live up to the hype at what is hoped will be a cornerstone of the new Time Square development?

Our first dish out of the block certainly does.

The baked Camembert sharer starter makes for a hell of an entrance – a gooey, cheesy delight encased by a rosemary bread bowl and glazed with a sweet hint of honey.

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Things do get a bit messy as the cheese begins to ooze out of the gaps left by torn away strips of doughy goodness and onto the wooden board below, but maybe that’s part of the fun.

Between the three of us, we do make a couple of other starter selections.

A plate of Cumberland chipolatas – served with a mustard dip – is more than serviceable, but they’ve been dwarfed by their French predecessor.

The third pick is the cauliflower wings.

Marinated in what the menu calls Frank’s hot sauce – I’m not sure who Frank is – the vegan-friendly dish looks and tastes every bit as good as its chickeny cousin.

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‘Cruelty-free’ junk food at its finest.

For what would have been the main event had the Camembert not happened, the Botanist’s ‘famous’, trademarked hanging kebabs are at centre stage.

There’s one chicken and chorizo kebab and one halloumi, and they are something of a spectacle – towering stacks of meat (or cheese), peppers and onions with a pool of garlic butter drizzling onto a generous helping of chips below.

Special mention should go to the cocktail sausage-style chorizo, packed full of flavour and beautifully grilled.

The Moving Mountains burger, a plant-based patty intended to replicate the familiar texture of the meaty option, seems to be becoming a regular fixture on restaurant menus.

And the Botanist provides a gourmet take on the burger, slathering it in pulled jackfruit – another food of the moment, akin to pulled pork.

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A unique element of the experience was a talented singer who, armed with an acoustic guitar, performed a host of pleasant, stripped-back cover songs for diners during our Sunday afternoon feeding session.

Throughout, our waitresses were friendly and happy to chip in with their own favourites from the menu.

One of these includes the bread and butter pudding, a delightfully gluttonous affair complimented by Nutella and Biscoff.

The cookie dough comes a close second, although the dessert version of the hanging kebab – a crazed chocolate brownie concoction boasting waffles and marshmallows – may have challenged if we hadn’t been far too full to order it.

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Over the course of the ensuing food coma, I occasionally found myself daydreaming about the Camembert and pined for its company once again.

If I could have ordered one for every course I would have, but my arteries probably wouldn’t have been able to take the strain.

Just promise me you’ll make a date with it at the Botanist soon.