The Botanic: Falafel-Encrusted Scotch Egg & Sambal Short Rib In A Nature-Inspired Restaurant At Raffles City

Drive along North Bridge Road, and you’re bound to have passed what used to be Salt Tapas & Bar. Now, you’ll be greeted by a re-invention of the place, with The Botanic welcoming you to its nature-inspired dining space.

Gone are the dark interiors and use of dense woods. The space has been transformed into a bright, vibrant and welcoming spot that will make you want to slow things down and imbibe the chill atmosphere.

I for one don’t love eggplants, but I took a shot at this dish, given that it came recommended. The Charred Eggplant (S$18) comes topped with tahini, chickpeas, chermoula and soft herbs. I believe the smoky char took away the usual bitterness of the eggplant that I’m usually aversive to, and the flesh within felt as soft as whipped potato.

The crackle of the eggplant’s skin was a nice touch, and of course, the herbs made this appetiser aromatic and delightful.

The Burrata (S$22) here isn’t your typical serving, as it comes with thick and luscious butternut pumpkin, rocket, olive oil and grilled bread. Be sure to enjoy as soon as it lands on your table, as the grilled bread was impeccably crisp and irresistible.

Smothering the burrata and butternut pumpkin on a slice, and I was almost tempted to order another portion as the delectable union of both ingredients against crumbly toast was a sure-win combination.

As far as taste goes, everything proved to be mild, but I didn’t mind one bit, given I’m quite biased towards a slightly burnt toast.

Another appetiser that you definitely don’t often see on a menu, but certainly need to order, is the Free-range Scotch Egg (S$15). It’s encrusted in falafel and served with tabouli, yoghurt, and lemon and cucumber.

The yolk was bright orange, cooked until it was viscous and just the right amount of runny. The contrasting texture of custard-like egg and gritty falafel was really pleasant.

Best for sharing (or if you’re an avid fan of whole fish, you’re welcome to have this by yourself!), the Whole Roasted Market Fish (market price) truly impressed me. It’s served with a side of young mango & papaya salad, but make no mistake — the fish was the star.

The flesh was naturally sweet and peeled off the bones with little effort. It was so delicate and delicious, only a spritz of lemon was needed to give the fish a slight boost in flavour.

The Slow-cooked Lamb Shoulder (S$32) was something I was really looking forward to. However, in spite of the flesh being very satisfyingly tender, the green olive & chilli tapenade didn’t stand out as much as I’d expected. To say it was forgettable, would be pretty apt, given the next meat dish was what I remember most from that meal.

Go instead for their Smoked Sambal Short Rib (S$39), which was truly the highlight of my dining experience at The Botanic. Just having it set down on our table was enough to whet my appetite as the fragrantly roasted padron peppers permeated the air.

The meat was tender and sufficiently fatty, and complemented excellently with the heat and acidity of the horseradish and roasted padron peppers. My only wish was for the portion to be larger so that I could’ve gotten to enjoy more of this memorable main.

Taking on a traditional twist on pavlova, the Chendol Pavlova (S$12) comes littered with coconut, jackfruit granita, mango and salted palm sugar. The pavlova itself wasn’t terribly sweet, which I really appreciated.

The honey-sweetness was derived from the numerous fruits. In spite of its attempt, it failed to conjure any assimilation to chendol. Perhaps I’m too used to how chendol is traditionally eaten, but this dessert was definitely more a generic fruit pavlova than anything else.

I’m not saying it wasn’t delicious — because it was — but it just wasn’t a successful re-interpretation of chendol.

This fruity spin on pannacotta, however, caught my attention. The Ginger Flower Pannacotta (S$12) was topped with charred orange, lemongrass and edible flowers. The consistency of the pannacotta was creamy, yet not thick, and the acidity of the charred orange was a welcome cut of zestiness to an otherwise flat dessert.

I really love how the space of former Salt Tapas & Bar has transformed itself. As for the food itself, it had some hits and misses, with my favourite being the Free-range Scotch Egg and Smoked Sambal Short Rib. If not for the food, come for the laid-back ambience and the convenient and central location.

Chope Reservations

Expected Damage: S$20 – S$35 per pax

Price: $ $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

The Botanic

252 North Bridge Road, Raffles City Shopping Centre, #01-22A, Singapore 179103

Our Rating 4/5

The Botanic

252 North Bridge Road, Raffles City Shopping Centre, #01-22A, Singapore 179103

Telephone: +65 6837 0995
Operating Hours: (Daily) 12pm - 11pm
Telephone: +65 6837 0995

Operating Hours: (Daily) 12pm - 11pm
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