Sunday, November 29, 2020

Botanico @ The Garage (Singapore Botanic Gardens) - 2019 World Gourmet Summit Rising Female Chef Of The Year Brings new Maturity And Confidence In Her Creations


My last visit to Botanico at The Garage was 3 years ago when Chef Sue takes the helm introducing her interpretation of Asian flavours in her dishes. Since then, she has grown from strength to strength, winning the 2019 Rising Female Chef of the Year and spent time in the kitchens of Michelin-starred Mugaritz polishing her culinary skills.

Beef Tongue Tacos 3.5/5


I guess no one has ever seen or tried taco presented in such a matter. The Beef Tongue Tacos ($18) is served jicama slaw, toasted rice, ginger flower, baby bokchoy and cashew cream. To enjoy it, simply piece everything together and have it in one mouthful to get the different textures and flavours all at play in one go.

Corn Pani Puri 4/5

The Corn Pani Puri ($10) is a playful touch by Chef Sue where puffed little pillows of Indian-inspired puri pastry acted as a cup, holding within it, spiced baby corn and a rich espuma of curried Japanese corn. Pop this in the mouth for a burst of aromatic flavours dancing in the mouth.

Rojak 3.5/5

The Rojak ($15) may look plain, but it is actually packed with the lovely savoury shrimp paste flavour. Give the heiko foam a good mix, coating the pile of kohlrabi and seasonal Southeast Asian fruits salad. It reminds me of the Penang-style rojak, giving the refreshing salad a delightful combo of sweet, savoury, and sour with each bite.

Wing Bean Salad 4.2/5

Chef Sue took inspiration from a staff meal that one of her Malaysian chefs created. Together with her team, they took the dish apart and created the new elevated Wing Bean Salad ($15) using European techniques with Southeast Asian flavours. The wing beans are paired with cubes of housemade chickpea tofu, chopped hard-boiled egg, bird's eye chilli, dressed in a bright, punchy dressing of lime juice, lemongrass, fish sauce, belachan and Thai palm sugar. It even comes with a generous topping of Asian anchovies or better known as ikan bilis in Southeast Asia.

Assam Pedas Snapper 4.2/5

Fish lover will adore Chef Sue's modern take of the traditional assam pedas - Assam Pedas Snapper ($32). The red snapper fillet is grilled over banana leaf, complemented with saffron risotto, okra 2-ways, assam pedas and ginger flower.

Herbal Chicken 4.5/5

I love both Hainanese chicken rice and herbal chicken; hence I really enjoyed the Herbal Chicken ($29) at Botanico. The chicken breast is slow-cooked to tender and dressed in angelica sauce. The sauce is definitely the star which brightens the dish. Not forgetting the chicken rice couscous, which is a flavourful substitution of the usual rice to pair with the herbal chicken. What I feel missing is the chilli sauce to complete the whole enjoyment.

65 Degree Kurobuta Pork Belly 4.2/5

I am sure not many can resist the gorgeous piece of 65 Degree Kurobuta Pork Belly ($30) slow-cooked to fork-tender. It is served with textures of sunchoke, leek flowers and housemade soy-vinegar infused with Szechuan peppercorns.

Crab Rissoni 4.8/5

The crowd favourite definitely goes to the Crab Rissoni ($32). The outer circle is a ring of Japanese deep-sea red crab and blue swimmer crab. The internal circle is Japanese nori rissoni and a comte custard right in the middle. The beautiful dish is sprinkled with octopus bottarga made in house with octopus egg. Give everything a good mix, to get the lovely crustacean's sweetness swimming in each mouth fill. 

BGR (Black Glutinous Rice) 4/5

Even the desserts at Botanico are inspired by flavours in Southeast Asia. First up is the BGR ($12), a playful name for the black glutinous rice dessert recreated with a modern look. It came in the form of black glutinous rice mochi cake topped with toasted rice ice cream and compressed coconut resting on a bed black glutinous rice foam.

Ondeh Ondeh 3.5/5

Familiar yet not is the Ondeh Ondeh ($12). The beloved nonya kueh is transformed into a bowl of pandan glutinous rice cake with coconut foam, kaya ice cream and gula melaka. It is definitely interesting and yummy, but I still miss the oozing gula melaka moment whenever one bites into the traditional ondeh ondeh.

Having dined at Botanico when Chef Sue first took over the helm, I can really taste the improvement in her culinary skill. Her creations now reflect a greater nuance and finesse with a new focus on South East Asian flavours. 

Note: This is an invited tasting.

The Garage (Singapore Botanic Gardens)
via Cluny Park Gate
50 Cluny Park Road
Singapore 257488
Tel: +65 98311106
Nearest MRT: Botanic Gardens (CC Line)

Opening Hours:
Tue-Thu: 6pm - 10pm
Fri-Sun: 11am - 3pm, 6pm - 10pm

1) Alight at Botanic Gardens MRT station. Take Exit A. Turn left and walk to Cluny Park Road. Turn left onto Cluny Park Road and continue walking down the road. At Cluny Park Gate, walk in and walk to destination. Journey time about 8 minutes. {Map]

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