SINGAPORE RESTAURANT

Botanico at The Garage

A heritage building at the Singapore Botanic Gardens is the site of a Spanish bistronomy restaurant.

The 1 Group, behind 1-Altitude and UNA, is behind this major restoration of a 1920s two-storey, seven-car garage. The handsome, foliage-esconced heritage building is serves Spanish-leaning bistronomy courtesy of UNA chef Antonio Oviedo, meaning the menu is packed with both comfort and thrills. We love the smoky-sweet Inka chargrilled carabinero prawn ($28), topped with pine nuts and served alongside a deep-flavored paella-risotto-like mellow rice made with prawn trimmings and topped with little cubes of pork trotter terrine. Meat-lovers should try the lovely and mild lamb tartare ($20), mixed with deep-fried capers and topped with pickled onions, nasturtium, yolk cream and a flavor-forward mustard ice cream. And even if you don't have a sweet tooth, make room for the exciting Tropical Fruits ($14), which juxtaposes the unusual but pleasing flavors of laksa leaf ice cream, white chocolate tumeric ganache, jackfruit, longan and a sable crumble. Don't forget to have a tropical aperitif on the air-conditioned balcony bar.

 

The buzz: The 1 Group, behind places like Stellar, 1-Altitude and UNA, has delivered a one-two heritage punch in recent weeks, with the near-simultaneous openings of The Summerhouse at Seletar Aerospace Park and The Garage at Singapore Botanic Gardens. The latter is a major restoration of a two-storey, seven-car garage, first built in the 1920s, which held the cars (and, upstairs, the drivers) of horticulture professors. It now houses the Bee's Knees, a casual, post-walking-the-dog brunch spot on the first floor and Botanico, a high-ceilinged Spanish bistronomy eatery on the second.

The vibe: The handsome, foliage-esconced heritage building is spacious and high-ceilinged, the kind of place your cool and rich friends might have a gorgeous daytime wedding reception. Botanico on the second floor is the kind of place that will never feel crowded, even when every table is full, thanks to its generously spaced tables. It's also got pretty planters hanging from the ceiling rafters and enormous windows, which is why we hope they will soon open for lunch.

The food: Spanish-leaning bistronomy courtesy of UNA chef Antonio Oviedo means a menu that is packed with both comfort and thrills. Hearty flavors and shareable dishes come with pretty plating, unusual garnishes, savory ice creams, unexpected combos and other touches. The ubiquitous chorizo croquette ($14) is jazzed here with idiazabal, an unpasteurized sheep's milk cheese from the Basque region. We love the simple but delightful, smoky-sweet Inka chargrilled carabinero prawn ($28), topped with pine nuts and served alongside a deep-flavored paella-risotto-like mellow rice made with prawn trimmings and topped with little cubes of pork trotter terrine. The hand-dived Hokkaido scallop ($27) with Iberico lardo, Jerusalem artichoke chips and samphire delivers a similarly sweet-seafoody-porky delight, though meat-lovers should try the lovely and mild lamb tartare ($20), mixed with deep-fried capers and topped with pickled onions, nasturtium, yolk cream and a flavor-forward mustard ice cream. Salads and desserts do not play second fiddle either: the Botanico salad ($18) is a beautiful flavor-texture riot of edible flowers, chargrilled cucumber, pickled beetroots, radishes and other goodies served alongside burrata. And even if you don't have a sweet tooth, make room for the exciting Tropical Fruits ($14), which juxtaposes the unusual but pleasing flavors of laksa leaf ice cream, white chocolate tumeric ganache, jackfruit, longan and a sable crumble.

The drink: There are a few signature cocktails, such as the blackberry lychee mojito and the boozy thyme lemonade. Have a couple as an aperitif on the air-conditioned balcony bar, but be sure to hit the interesting wine list once you sit down to dinner. The value-for-money Barolos and Chablis caught our eye.

Why you'll be back: It's pretty cozy, surprisingly affordable for that kind of food and in the oppressive summer months ahead, that air-conditioned alfresco bar is sure going to be nice (gosh, we hope it's sustainable and energy efficient).

Venue Details
Address: Botanico at The Garage, Singapore Botanic Garden, 50 Cluny Park Rd., Singapore, 257488 Singapore
Phone: 9831-1106
Website: www.thegarage.sg
Area: Bukit Timah
Cuisine: Spanish
Price Range: $$ - $$$$
Open since: January, 2017
Opening hours: Wed-Sun 6-10pm
Nearest trainBotanic Gardens
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