The white box was brimming with fresh, colourful salad goodness. There was also a muffin but she couldn't show that because despite buying it for her children, she couldn't resist eating it on the way home. Sprung! (sorry).
Botanica the the new baby of Brett and Alison Hutley (who also have a real baby on the way). Alison told me they had been searching for the right shop in the right location for a while and this spot ticked all their boxes.
Judging by the number of customers lining up while I was visiting, the word is already out there about how good this food is. My biggest problem was taking photos of salad bowls while they were still full. Alison and Brett's problem is going to be keeping their shelves full.
Botanica is purely takeaway with three sizes available, designed to feed between one and six people. We polished off most of a large salad box between the two of us, without any extras. They could certainly stretch a lot further if used as side salads.
Alison says there's no meat in any salad as they are designed to go with your own meat if desired, or just on their own. That makes them a perfect choice for vegetarians and there are vegan options as well.
"It's food you can eat every day," says Alison, and I'd certainly like to to that.
"We are here to help when you are hosting a barbecue with a very tight schedule, planning a picnic in the park and wanting to impress friends, or just in need of a lunch full of natural goodness to keep your engine running."
So what are you likely to find in the display cabinet? Think salad of shredded carrot, flame grapes, parsley , celery root and spiced peanut puree or perhaps courgette ribbons, broad bean, garden pea, asparagus, pine nut ricotta , lemon and mint dressing. If that doesn't have you jumping in the car, how about roast baby carrots, dates, tarragon, maple and coconut puree or wild Rice, pumpkin, sweet potato, pomegranate molasses with masala yoghurt?
Brisbane born and both trained chefs, Alison and Brett spent the past five years living in Sydney as private chefs to James and Erica Packer and Aussie Home Loan founder John Symonds.
Everything in the shop is made in house, fresh daily except for the sour dough bread from Levian. The shelves were leanly stocked when I visited just days after the opening but their products include muslie and biscuits with some truly delicious muffins (you were right Maree!). Quiches and open tarts are also on the planning list.
This part of town is becoming a great food haven with Cockdoodle Cafe next door, Clovely Estate's cellar door, great Italian restaurant Colle Rosso over the road and Tony Harpers new beer and wine shop, Craft just up the road.
One of the best things about Botanica is that they stay open until seven pm on weekdays so it's all too easy to pop in for takeaway on the way home.
Bottom line: Truly beautiful food
Best tip: Botanica have customer parking at the back of the building with entry via Waterworks Rd.
Dislaimer: Ed+bK paid for this food.