Unwind with Friday lunches at Botanico, Singapore Botanic Gardens

It’s been a minute since I had the leisure—and pleasure—of time to toddle out for a weekday lunch. Granted, this one was still arranged by the dutiful call of work, I appreciated the location of my Friday appointment. How could one complaint about enjoying a meal at Botanico, Singapore Botanic Gardens, situated in a beautifully restored 1920s Art Deco black-and-white bungalow?

Hardly the place to whinge about life, it now serves patrons who are hungry, both for an escape from the inundation of urban landscapes, and also an unforgettable lunch amongst ample green. Botanico typically is open only for dinner on weekdays, but they’re shifting their formula to accommodate a Friday lunch crowd. Although only available for one weekday, for now, I’m confident it’ll drum up its frequency after everyone has a chance to taste the impeccably sound dishes by Chef Sujatha Asokan.

Botanico Lunch 12

These are fries done right, and you won’t want them any other way once they meet your lips. Spicy Duck Loaded Fries (S$17) tastes every bit as indulgent as they sound. Available only at Bee’s Knees, the easy-going cafe located right below Botanico, the duck fat is sauteed then rendered before being thrown together with homemade sriracha cream and slathered across the dark golden, crisp fries.

If you’re feeling like a one-dish lunch, I’m not going to stop nor judge you if this is the only thing you order. You’d think the fattiness would prove to be overwhelming, but the tang of sriracha keeps that in check. So, please, go forth and munch on.

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Don’t mistake these dainty spheres as delicate; they may look the part, but they pack plenty. The Corn Pani Puri (S$10 for three) is born out of Chef’s Su’s distaste for corn. She managed to figure out a way to mask her aversion with delicate curried Japanese corn and French vadouvan espuma, encased in a pani puri shell. This marvel is a lil’ tricky, so it’s highly recommended to consume (in a single bite) the moment it lands on the table.

The French curry blend isn’t at all spicy—it’s certainly more aromatic if you ask me. But what is the most gratifying about this dish is the textural contrast between silky and crunchy, with only the slightest note of corn right at the finish. Similarly, if your palate is similar to Chef Su, don’t knock this till you try.

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Greens aren’t necessarily everyone’s first choice of order when eating out, I understand. But I must implore that you include Wing Bean Salad (S$15) to accompany your meal at Botanico. It’s piled with fresh winged beans, onions and eggs, with fish sauce, palm sugar, bird’s eye chilli, lime aioli and chickpea tofu.

Prepare yourself for a savoury assault that’s balanced, yet powerful. The first to greet you is the fish sauce and fried ikan bilis, but they don’t linger too long before lime aioli swoops in to cleanse the palate. Then comes in the sweet notes of bird’s eye chilli to take you home. The experience is inimitable—that much I can say.

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I’m struggling to fit in all the dishes I wish I could rave about, so if you truly, really had to pick only one absolute dish over everything, their “Herbal Chicken” (S$29) has to be it. Taking on the challenge of using chicken breast, Chef Su has deliciously transformed a less-than-favourite cut of chicken to become a champion of their new lunch menu.

Chicken breast is brined and sous vide with salt (and a bit of angelica), before being pan-seared and finalised in the oven. Taking inspiration from our favourite local staple, it’s served with “chicken rice” couscous. Trust me when I proclaim you’ll never want to eat chicken breast anywhere else, ever again.

The chicken meat doesn’t display any resistance or grittiness and blends in effortlessly with the pillowy couscous. This dish deserves to be savoured on an empty stomach.

Taking the time out of the week to re-visit Chef Su and experience, once again, the magic that she conjures in the kitchen, was an absolute honour. I feel everyone needs to have a meal at Botanico at least once, because that is all you need to be convinced.

ChopeDeals: Save up to 25% at The Botanico >

Chope Reservations

Date & Time: Botanico is now open for lunch on Fridays | 11pm – 3pm (last order 2.30pm)

Prices: From $15 per dish

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 5 / 5


50 Cluny Park Road, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Level 2, Singapore 257488

Our Rating 5/5


50 Cluny Park Road, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Level 2, Singapore 257488

Telephone: +65 9831 1106
Operating Hours: 6pm - 10pm (Tue to Thu), 11am - 3pm & 6pm - 10pm (Fri), 11am - 3pm & 6pm - 10pm (Sat & Sun), Closed on Mon
Telephone: +65 9831 1106

Operating Hours: 6pm - 10pm (Tue to Thu), 11am - 3pm & 6pm - 10pm (Fri), 11am - 3pm & 6pm - 10pm (Sat & Sun), Closed on Mon
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