Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Botanico at The Garage - New Chef, New Locally-Inspired Creations

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Ever since Botanico opened its doors, it has been on my list of recommended places to go. Set amidst lush greenery, the restaurant is perfect for romantic dates, intimate family dinners, and those who just want to kick back and relax over cocktails and wine. With a new chef at its helm, Botanico has moved towards a more locally-inspired menu that is heavily influenced by Asian flavours, and built with botanical elements. The outstanding Seabass Ceviche($17), which is Chef Su's interpretation of Assam Laksa, left a really deep impression. Diced seabass is brilliantly put together with tamarind-dressed glass noodles, and a scoop of shrimp paste icecream. If there's only one dish that you can have from the menu, this has to be it. I promise that you'll fall in love with it on the very first bite

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Such a dreamy al fresco setting! The aircon is really strong so you don't have to worry about sweating buckets.

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Botanico's signature cocktails include the Garage Gin'onic($19), Lady Rose($19), and Turmeric Twist($20). If you're thinking of wine, Botanico's expanded wine programme which consists of 30 premium labels will have you jumping for joy. Bottles are available by the Coravin, which allows wine to be enjoyed without the removal of the cork from the bottles.

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Bread is always a good idea. The charcoal cones tasted so good with the house-smoked butter. I was eating more butter than bread, but hey, butter is the best idea right? You may like to start your meal with the Cauliflower($10) in Canarejal fondue, or Asparagus Tempura($14). The vegetable dishes didn't sit too well with me, but my dining companions sure enjoyed them.

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Seasonal Oysters($6/piece). This, I like. The fresh and plump Irish oysters were dressed with a chilli-shallot fish dressing which complemented the brininess and clean metallic taste of the oysters to the t. I can easily finish half a dozen of these on my own!

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I had a glass of Kairos, and it was really really good. I hardly go for red wine, but this was mage!

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Have you tried beef tongue before? I first had beef tongue at a bbq place in Taipei in 2013. The beef tongue was highly recommended and we decided to give it a try despite finding it odd. We were pleasantly surprised by how fatty, juicy, and soft the tongue was.

At Botanico, Australian Beef Tongue($20) is brined, sous vide, and chilled before being sliced very thinly. While the high fat content of the beef tongue wasn't fully "utilised", the beef tongue was soft, a little chewy, and a tad springy. The mustard caviar and chipotle mayonnaise injected a refreshing hint of spiciness. Chef Su also added some crunch in the form of deep-fried capers.

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The Slipper Lobster Chittara($32) was an ensemble of fresh pasta, housemade Chinese XO sauce, sous vide slipper lobster, and pickled baby turnips. Fresh pasta is always delightful, but the star of the show was definitely the XO sauce which is made with a dozen ingredients. Intensely savoury, and packed with umami, the XO sauce almost had me licking the plate clean. Well, it was a social setting, so I had to behave and restrain myself.. While yummy, the dish is a tad pricey.

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Oh hello, you goodlooking thing. Accompanied by carrot noodles, and roasted carrot puree, the grilled Iberico Char Siew($34) will have you marveling at how tender, juicy, and sweet it is. The honey pork jus was just the icing on the cake, but make sure you coat every inch of the char siew with it! While the carrot noodles weren't my thing, I enjoyed the roasted carrot puree which was infused with ginger and orange.

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The Stockyard Wagyu Petit Tender($34) is the last savoury dish to grace our table. There are only four petit tenders in a cow's shoulders, so the cut can be considered to be quite rare. After it is grilled in the INKA, the beef is assembled with green sriracha, charred leek flowers, and baked potato terrine. While the beef wasn't particularly juicy, it sure was tender, and was armed with a lovely charred aroma.

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Conclude your meal with the Lemongrass Panna Cotta($10) which comes with a scoop of housemade ginger icecream or the Jalapeno Icecream($11) which is completed with charred Sarawak pineapples and bacon financier. I was thinking that I prefer the panna cotta because it was smooth and creamy, and the ginger icecream was a winner, but I also really enjoyed the pineapples. I guess.. I'm saying.. that you should get both?

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Cocktail jellies? Yes, please! You can now enjoy your favourite Botanico cocktails in true dessert style.

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This is not the best photo, especially when it features a half eaten cake, but the chocolate cake was the perfect ending to a wonderful night. Thank you Team Botanico for the surprise!

Chef Su, who has had stints at Esquina, Pollen, and Stellar, has successfully melded the East and West in her dishes. I'm excited to see what she comes up with next!

50 Cluny Park Road Singapore
Botanic Gardens
Wednesday - Friday : 6pm - 10pm
Saturday - Sunday : 11am - 3pm, 6pm - 11pm


Love, K

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