I sourced around the Internet for recommendations of restaurants suitable for vegetarian or vegan customers due to my 2 months of eating a meatless diet. After multiple searches, I found an article recommending gourmet restaurants suitable for vegans. One of the restaurants on the list was The Botanic which is a restaurant helmed by Chef Shannon Binnie who turned vegan 2 years ago.
Having dinner at The Botanic was somewhat a dreamy affair with its drapping plants and garden furniture decor. Coupled with the warm lightings throughout the restaurant, it is not hard to imagine yourself dining in a private garden.
The restaurant showcases a variety of plant-based sharing dishes with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options alongside free-range, organic meat and seafood offerings. It is perfect for groups with a mix of dietary requirements. With such a cosy and inviting environment, the service was quite disappointing. The service was functional and definitely not warm. In fact, there were instances we almost felt unwelcomed. There was also no recommendation or whatever so and we were pretty much left on our own. Visiting with great expectations from the different reviews, I was slightly disappointed to find the menu different from some of the reviews.
For starters, we ordered the Botanic plate consisting of grilled tofu, quinoa tabbouleh,
smoked eggplant, cassava, sauerkraut, pickles and tahini sauce for SGD 22. The ingredients used were very fresh and the taste is generally very light. The tofu was well seared and the cassava chips provided a good change in texture with all the other vegetables in the plate. The serving was good for 1 to 2 persons for sharing and is a stretch for 3 people to share. I was expecting to order to scotch egg which was highly raved about but it was nowhere to be found on the menu so we moved on to mains.
The Australian Striploin had broccoli, mustard and burnt lime sauce. The beef was generally good and tender but it wasn’t exactly out of the world. Another raved dish was the smoked sambal brisket was also no longer in the menu.
The barbequed octopus came with bamboo barigoule, nduja, radish and olive. You might ask what is barigoule; it is a preparation originating from France in order to preserve and cook the seasonal Globe artichokes. An Artichoke Barigoule consists of stock, vinegar and generous amounts of citrus to prevent the Artichokes from browning. The barigoule is actually a pretty nice accompaniment to the seafood dish as it provided a tangy to balance out the dish. The octopus, however, was not as nice as we would have wished for; the texture was slightly rubbery and the serving was quite modest.
The vegetarian main I ordered was the ricotta dumplings which came served with pita bread, pomelo, pickled pumpkin and pumpkin seed miso sauce.
I was slightly disappointed as the dish was widely different from the way it was written on the menu except for the pickled pumpkin. Firstly, there was no dumpling – it was just pita bread. The entire dish tasted just like the Botanic plate we had as starters with the exception of the fresh and citrusy pomelo flesh. The taste is light and refreshing just like the starter but not what I had expected. I did not ask the server why the dish is named as ricotta dumplings since they were really cold in their manner.
Overall, I loved the look and feel of the restaurant but the food fell from expectations compared to the other reviews online and this speaks strongly on why the restaurant was hardly filled during dinner. The main cuisine influence of the dishes was Mediterranean and I do not see much of an Asian inspiration as mentioned in other reviews. If you are looking for good food, you might have to continue your search.
Address: 252 North Bridge Rd, #01-22A, Raffles City Shopping Centre, 179103
Operating hours: 11.30 am to 11 pm ( 11.30 pm on Thurs to Sat)