More reason to vegetate at the Botanic Gardens now – Botanico at The Garage’s new food and drinks menu is fine and fresh
Every time we take Cluny Park Road road to get to The Garage at the Singapore Botanic Gardens we feel like we’ve stepped into a portal to go back in time. You might remember our launch review of Botanico, housed inside a beautiful 1920s art deco building that really was a garage in a former life. But there’s a new face ruling the kitchen and we simply had to peek in.
Walk up the nondescript staircase to a freshly spruced up restaurant and a stocked wine display that promises a good time. It’s cosy with fairy lights, a deck area filled with potted plants and botany lab-like decor. We most certainly need more of those textbook botanical illustrations and tiny terrariums in our lives.
What’s new on the menu? Pretty much everything. Homegirl chef Sujatha Asokan’s bistro-style dishes evidently hint to her mixed heritage roots. We’ll be going back for that non-soupy Assam laksa ($17) with sea bass ceviche and shrimp paste ice cream – it’s cold to touch yet warm and complex to taste. Oh, and give the tender char siew ($34) a try. Who knew behind every amazing char siew there can be remarkable carrot puree, fresh carrot noodles and juicy ice plant leaves for a nice, fuzzy feeling.
Even the respectfully treated tender steak ($34) combined with tangy-hot green sriracha and played down by a potato terrine came together perfectly on our Asian palette. And anyone who can make cauliflower taste divine is magical in our eyes. The local cauli ($10) made fancy was deep fried, smoked in a wood fired oven and blended with cañarejal cheese cream and a sprinkling of savory almond thins. And we wouldn’t mind seconds.
From the dessert page, we dug into a jiggly lemongrass panna cotta ($10) that felt like a spa-day. It was topped with diced green apples, tender ginger ice cream and lemon meringue dusting that melted like bits of clouds. We were pleasantly surprised by the jalapeno ice cream ($11) that ebbs and flows waves of heat and sweet when eaten solo. Have it with the charred pineapple and dehydrated bacon financier to get the contrast of textures. We hear the chef was inspired by traditional sweet and savory rojak when she developed this bold dessert.
While it was hard to choose between boozy garden-themed concoctions (starting at $19) and fine vino (starting at $13 for a glass), you will most certainly enjoy chewing/slurping on some pretty delicious alcohol. Yup, you don’t see that everyday – but Botanico’s progressive cocktails ($13) are gelatinous desserts spiked with alcohol and plated for Instagram likes.
Botanico, 50 Cluny Park Road, Singapore 257488
Dinner: Wednesday to Sunday, 6pm to 11:30pm; Brunch: Saturday & Sunday 11am to 3pm