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Although I‘d heard about “Botanico” being a picturesque spot, I had never set foot in there until recently. True enough, this place which is located above “Bee’s Knees” at The Garage, proved to be a gem tucked away in lush greenery. Not only for its relaxing ambience complete with twinkling fairy lights, but also a menu of dishes so vibrant in flavour and spot-on in execution they make you stop in wonder.
The kitchen is helmed by female Singaporean Chef Sujatha who’s of Chinese-Indian parentage. And judging by all our positive reactions to the dishes we were served, she’s undoubtedly attuned to creating very enjoyable food.
She wow-ed us from the get-go with Fresh Oysters dressed with a chilli-shallot-fish sauce ($6++ a piece), crunchy Cauliflower tossed in Spanish Cañarejal cheese fondue, kaffir lime zest and spiced almonds ($10++) plus a fantastic Tempura Asparagus with miso hollandaise ($10++).
Next came an assam laksa-inspired Seabass Ceviche ($17++) and cool Beef Tongue with a sexy chipotle mayonnaise ($20++). I was especially thrilled to have the latter as I love, love, love tongue.
Served hot from the INKA charcoal oven were three wonderfully done smoky meats: Iberico Pork “Char Siew” with refreshing carrot “noodles” ($34++), “Curry” Lamb Neck Fillets that had hardly a whiff of gaminess ($32++) and a Stockyard Wagyu Petit Tender matched with a potent green sriracha ($34++). No effort was spared to make sure all the accompaniments on each plate were there for a reason and presented at their best.
We also feasted on Slipper Lobster Chittara Pasta in Chinese X.O. sauce ($32++). This was so startlingly umami and delicious it became Burppler Jayson Yeo’s no. 1 dish of the night.
Desserts were daring and creative with the unlikely ingredients of lemongrass and ginger showing up in one, and jalapeño, in the other. The spices were calibrated carefully so they never overpowered but whispered their presence in the panna cotta and ice-creams ($10++ and $11++ respectively).
Interestingly, our night began and ended with cocktails by mixologist Ruzaini. First in liquid form, then as cute jelly domes. Suffice to say, we were wreathed in smiles all the way.