A new gem has just opened its doors at Singapore Botanic Gardens, and it’s one that we can’t stop talking about! From impeccable eats to tantalising drinks, there’s more to Botanico at The Garage than meets the eye – here are 7 good reasons why this charming restaurant has stolen our hearts.
1. Dining in the heart of nature
Expect your dining experience at Botanico to be both calming and reviving. Located at the renowned Singapore Botanic Gardens, we couldn’t help but immediately unwind once we settled at our tables.
The main dining hall is simple but comforting, with large windows that allow ample light to brighten up the ambience during the day. Botanico’s hidden bar, also Singapore’s very first air-conditioned al-fresco bar, is located at the outdoor terrace that overlooks the foliage of the Gardens, making it the perfect spot to rendezvous with friends and bond over great drinks and even better conversations.
2. The culinary geniuses at Botanico
Behind every dish is an impeccable culinary team. Helmed by Chef Antonio Oviedo, who has cut his teeth at many Michelin-starred restaurants, the team at Botanico understands the importance of natural, seasonal ingredients drawn from the best-quality sources – and this is evident in each of Botanico’s exceptional dishes that draws balance between sweet and savoury.
With a heritage from both the North and South of Spain, and years of experience under his belt, Chef Antonio’s seasonality-driven cuisine is characterised by a casual yet refined approach. Mixologist Ruzaini Hashim also draws upon nature to create tasty tipples that are refreshing and pair well with the dishes from the kitchen.
3. A Lamb Tartare you won’t soon forget
The Lamb Tartare came highly recommended, and we can see why: instead of the traditional beef, lamb is the star of this dish and it’s given a French treatment that does wonders in enhancing its fresh, mellow flavours.
The mustard sorbet and pickled onions in this rendition give it a touch of brightness. For added creaminess, Chef Antonio introduced egg yolk cream instead of the traditional raw yolk. Nasturtiums, flown in from Spain, aren’t merely plating decorations; it imparts a hint of spiciness when eaten with the lamb.
With such an impressive starter, it was difficult not to let it set the bar for our expectations towards Chef Antonio’s other courses.
4. Freshen up with a tasty line-up of cocktails
As a feast is made for laughter, drinks make life merry. Botanico’s resident mixologist Ruzaini Hashim serves up a tantalising, botanical-inspired selection, such as the Garage Gin’Onic, Blackberry Lychee Mojito, and Thyme Lemonade.
Botanico’s Blackberry Lychee Mojito makes for a refreshing start. The blend of blackberry and lychee creates a balance between sweet and sour, easing us into the kick from the rum. On the other hand, the crowd-favourite Thyme Lemonade combines vodka with fresh lemonade for an inviting weather refresher, and a sprig of thyme that adds a mild flavour profile.
Who wouldn’t love a tasty tipple at a hidden garden bar located on a spacious outdoor terrace? We simply couldn’t resist!
5. Chef Antonio’s memorable Roasted Pigeon
This dish was introduced to us as Roasted Pigeon done two ways: the breast is pan-seared and the leg, confit.
While roasted pigeon sounds like a relatively simple dish, the nuances of textures and tastes are anything but. The pigeon is slightly crispy on the outside while maintaining a tender and moist inside. The parsnips are crisp and slightly sweet, while the Conte cheese and balsamic vinegar lend piquancy to the dish. The purple sorrel petals are fragrant and gives the dish a bright and citrusy undertone.
Pro-tip: Have it with the Thyme Lemonade for a match made in heaven.
6. Chargrilled Spanish Mackerel – a dish that comes alive
We were intrigued by how Chef Antonio is able to take this simple dish and give it a whole new dimension of flavours by introducing humble ingredients that work extremely well together.
Fresh Spanish Mackerel is chargrilled to perfection, imparting light smoky flavours and a firm bite. The sweetness from dehydrated seasonal fruits and the slight bitterness from the lightly stir-fried brussel sprouts create a balance that complements the umami from the mackerel. For a touch of indulgence, black garlic paste is used to round up the flavours and provide a robust finish.
7. End your meal with a bang with the Botanist
With such a charming name, it was difficult not to order this dessert right off the bat! Resembling the luscious foliage in which Botanico is situated, the Botanist is a dish that is both impressive in smell and flavour.
The fragrance of the makrut lime zest immediately drew us in. Each component of the dish offer a stark contrast of tastes against one another – the sharp lime jam with the refreshing cucumber sorbet, the luscious coconut cream with the tart granny smiths – but when they come together, it creates an explosion of flavours with every mouthful.
Refreshing and decadent, this dessert was the perfect way for us to round off the night.
Find it at 50 Cluny Park Road, The Garage, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore 257488
Book a table at Botanico at The Garage