Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Botanic @ Raffles City Shopping Centre - Reincarnation Of Salt Tapas & Bar


The Botanic at Raffles City Shopping Centre is an reincarnation of Salt tapas & bar, with a new focus on plant-based dining and eco-conscious wines. Helming this new concept is Group Executive Chef Shannon Binnie, whose Australian culinary culture and travel experiences in Asia form the main forces behind the nature-inspired menu. Alongside free-range, organic meat and seafood offerings, there is an equivalent number of plant-based dishes with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free plates.

The Botanic 2.5/5, Caffeine Fix 3/5, Guacamole 3/5

Our pre-meal drinks were The Botanic ($18) and Caffeine Fix ($22). Their signature The Botanic is concocted with house infused gin combined with lemongrass, fresh basil and lime juice. Shaken with egg white to give it its foamy body, instead of refreshing the palate, it was too raw for our liking. The latter was also rather average. Guacamole ($14) being our first starter was quite disappointing to see the creamy guacamole being spread thinly on the plate, as if to make up for the small portion.

Grilled Haloumi 3.8/5

Things started to pick up with our second appertiser, Grilled Haloumi ($22). Dust with sumac powder, the combination of its salty sweet taste and the tomato reminded me of the addictive Taiwanese cherry tomatoes stuffed with preserved plum in between. Unusual but the sweet and juicy watermelon worked harmoniously with the savoury haloumi.

Smoked Sambal Short Rib 4/5

Unforgettable was the Smoked Sambal Short Rib ($39) with flavours inspired by Chef Binnie’s travels to Indonesia but cooked with the classic American smokehouse techniques. What resulted was a smokey sweet meat that fell apart easily with a slight tug. The caramelised shallots elevated its smokey sweetness, which was balanced by the sharp horseradish and roasted padron peppers.

Grilled Cape Grim Pasture-fed Sirloin 3.5/5

I like the clean look of Grilled Cape Grim Pasture-fed Sirloin ($42). Meant to be gluten free, hence only roasted onion and slow cooked tomato are served as sides. The meat itself was flavorful but more of the chimichurri would make it even more enjoyable.

Baklava 3.8/5

Our desserts are quite different in terms of their origins but both were equally delightful. The Mediterranean Baklava ($14) stood out with the very distinctive fragrance and flavour of leatherwood honey, bringing me back to Tasmania instantly.

Chendol Pavlova 3.8/5

The Chendol Pavlova ($12) impressed me with its vegan version of an eggless meringue made from chickpeas with coconut cream, albeit a little too sweet. But the rest of the components were well put together to represent that authentic chendol flavour- the jackfruit granita, harum manis mango and salted gula melaka just shout chendol in every way.


Such focus on plant-based dining is not new but The Botanic's way of presentation is different. The dishes are not grouped under starters and mains but into four main category - Vegan, vegetarian, fish and meats. A huge deviation from Salt tapas & bar but hopefully you will enjoy it just as much.

Photos and words by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.

The Botanic
Raffles City Shopping Centre
252 North Bridge Road
Singapore 179103
Tel: +65 68370995
Nearest MRT: City Hall (EW Line, NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Daily: 12pm - 11pm

1) Alight at City Hall MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk to destination. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]

Monday, November 12, 2018

Telok Ayer Arts Club @ McCallum Street - Where Art, Music, Food And Drink Meet


The Supermarket Company has recently revamped its space at McCallum Street into a multi-use venue - Telok Ayer Arts Club, bringing art, music, food and drink together at the heart of the business-centric Telok Ayer neighbourhood. Curating creative residences and events lead by multidisciplinary artists, themed club nights and more rule-bending programming, the team hopes to shape the way us Singaporeans approach the arts. Stimulating your senses further are food and drink created by Head chef Betram Leong and Beverage manager Din Hassan respectively.

Jungle Bird

Beverage manager Din Hassan put together a Drink Menu that feature Southeast Asian Classics and Reinvented Classics. From Southeast Asian Classics, I had Jungle Bird, a well known cocktail in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and a reinvented Cheery Blossom concocted with cherry heering, cointreau, homemade pomegranate juice.

Tomato & Tofu 3.5/5

What's on the menu are Chef's rendition of French Mediterranean cuisine, accented with Asian flavours. We started off with some Small Plates. Tomato & Tofu ($14) is an Asian twist on the traditional caprese salad. The umami Shitake pesto and the acidity of the red wine vinegar made the simple ingredients really appetizing. The miso flavoured tofu had been toasted to give it that firmer exterior, and attention to such details made this dish even more delightful.

Octopus & Shrimp 3.8/5

Octopus & Shrimp ($18) was probably my favourite of the night. I love the texture of the chunky octopus which was chewy but not rubbery. Each piece of seafood was coated in a vinaigrette of traditional Chinese Shacha BBQ sauce, which gave it a very smoky flavour. I only wish there was a squeeze of lemon to brighten it up slightly.

Dumplings 3/5

Dumplings ($11) is a crowd-pleaser with its pork & chicken filling that comes with a bocconcini cheese centre. Lightly seasoned with shoyu and sesame oil, the filling was juicy and bursting with flavours as I suck my teeth into the crispy pocket.

Tuna Nicoise Salad 3.5/5

High in demand during lunch hour are their Grains & Salad Bowls. The base of the Tuna Nicoise Salad ($17) is quite common with mesclun salad, French bean, olives, ratte potato, grape tomato and egg but the star was the Tuna loin that was seared tataki style. Marinated with paprika, sugar, salt, lemon zest and oregano, it shouldered much of the dish's taste and flavours which is elevated by the citrusy and earthy rosemary lemon vinaigrette.

Mediterranean Couscous 2.8/5

Mediterranean Couscous ($15) has all the superfood ingredients - hummus, olives, cucumber, avocado, pine nuts and feta cheese but that was pretty much it. There was red wine shoyu dressing which supposedly to bring the ingredients together but it didn't come through at all.

Locally-Bred Spatchcock 4/5

Moving on to Large Plates, Locally-Bred Spatchcock ($28) stole the show with not just its look but its fork tender meat and extremely flavourful sauce and crisp skin. Inspired by the Portuguese-style Carne Assada, the herbs and spices used make this traditional French roast chicken extra aromatic. To achieve the crisp skin and tender interior, the chicken was brined in a salt and sugar mixture for a few hours, before being left to dry for a full day in a chiller. After which it was being roasted in butter with honey, paprika and herbs, and drizzled with a red wine sauce. So do not chuck the skin aside! I love the vegetables that came with a hint of smokiness, thanks to the bacon strips that were sautéed with it.

Cauliflower Steak 3.5/5

Cauliflower Steak ($19), like Mushroom Burger, set to entice you with a play on its hardy texture and smoky flavour. Charred to bring out its flavours, like most grilled hardy vegetables, that bitter, smoky notes had the ability to make this humble ingredient more tasty than ever. Scallion remoulade made using charred spring onions and roasted garlic elevated that flavour profile. All was good, except for the bechamel sauce that almost drenched the whole steak.

Seafood Fettuccine 3/5

Seafood Fettuccine ($25) is modeled after the traditional French bouillabaisse. The sauce is more of a seafood stew made of shellfish reduction, little neck clams, crab meat, baby squid. It reminded me of a wet Hokkien mee. It was acceptable but i think the stew works better as a seafood stew on its own instead of using it as a pasta base.

Baked Chocolate Pudding 3.8/5

Dessert was a comforting Baked Chocolate Pudding ($10). Like a classic brownie and ice cream combination but I love this version much more - the chocolate pudding was not as heavy as Brownie but its wet, spongy texture tasted rich in the mouth and no less chocolaty. The salted jaggery crystal bits distributed bursts of saltiness, punctuating through the sweetness of the coconut crumble and French vanilla ice cream.


What's stood out in Telok Ayer Arts Club is how the walls are being used as exhibition walls, with spot lights served as both gallery and restaurant's lights. The whole space is itself a gallery, doubling up as a restaurant or vice versa. \On the menu, a dish and a drink will be specially created to mirror the artist's exhibition for a stipulated period of time, so do check these out when you visit this unique space of Telok Ayer.

Photos and words by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.

Telok Ayer Arts Club
2 McCallum Street
Singapore 069043
Tel: +65 62210712
Nearest MRT:

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 11am - 11pm

1) Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Take Exit G. Walk down Telok Ayer Street. Turn right onto McCallum Street. Wak to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]


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