Botanist Singapore at Neil Road

"People who love to eat are always the best people." - Julia Child

I totally agree with this quote as come on, eating is such a joyous occasion and people who love to gather around for a good meal are naturally joyful and happy, don't you think? Take my food-loving friends for instance, there's never a sad or dull moment with them as we all enjoy discovering a new restaurant or when we do get to discover a winning dish, we all share that same amount of excitement and thrill over it. Our friend D is one of those people whom we just love hanging out with. Often times, I would tell him that he's such as a nice and down-to-earth guy. He's always true to himself even when that means having the appetite to order almost everything on the menu and not being ashamed to do so. Of course, Paul and I will always support this "dreams" and we would be game to pig out with him too! Kidding aside, we're really blessed to have a friend like D and how cool is it that he actually shares the same birthday as my beautiful niece? Two of my favorite people in this world sharing the same special day. 

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Recently, D, Paul and I went to check out the newly-opened Botanist along Neil Road. This is really one of our favorite food district with The Lokal just down the road, MeatLiquor a block away and the entire Keong Saik road restaurant behind it. It may be a challenge to spot the cafe. My tip is, it's within walking distance from Maxwell Food Centre and is just a block away from the newly ice cream place called Apiary which is actually next on our list. 

As always, D was so early for our 430pm agreed time and he has already ordered himself an Americana. Paul and I settled in and quickly scanned the menu to start ordering. Since the cafe is quite new, there aren't a lot of dishes yet but I'd say that most of it sounds delicious. 

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We started with the Guac Smash (S$18) which was my personal pick. I love anything with avocados and even if it's a fairly simple dish, we loved how tasty the diced fresh avocados were. Served on top of a piece of sourdough bread it's loaded with a generous amount of creamy guacamole, fresh avocado, feta cheese, pine nuts, diced beetroot and two poached eggs on the side. Of course, one can easily enjoy this on its own but since we ordered a lot of dishes, we opted to share. 

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Next came the Maple Pancake (S$18). One thing we love about Botanist is how Instagram-pretty most of their dishes are. You can really see the amount of effort they put into not only making it yummy but incredibly pretty too. This Maple Pancake comes with two fluffy-looking pancakes topped with creme fraiche, butter, nuts, a thick piece of bacon and fresh berries. 

As I was slicing into this, I got to admit that I felt that the pancakes were a tad too dry. However, as they say, everything deserves a second chance so after a couple more bites, we realized that there's nothing an extra dose of maple syrup can't fix. We love the walnut loaded base and the creamy creme fraiche too. I feel though there's no need to add that huge cube of butter but instead just drizzle more syrup on it. They're on their 2nd week of operation so we shall go back and hope that the pancakes will be more fluffy the next time around. 

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D and Paul shared the Corn Fritters (S$18) which was good and would make for a good starter or snack. Paul loved the sweet tomato salsa served with it while I tried the hummus on the side. Sadly, as I'm allergic to corn kernels, I can't really say much about this but let's take their word and say that this is also a must-try. 

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We got together for Afternoon Tea but who said we can't have some of their main dishes. We tried the Tagliatelle Carbonara (S$18) as D was craving for pasta. I'd say that this was an excellent choice! The pasta noodles had a good bite and the sauce has a nice balance of creamy and savory without being too heavy. Served with a generous portion of mushrooms and bacon, this is one that I would love to have for lunch soon. I love how it comes with sous vide egg too which you have to break and tossed into the pasta to give it a richer texture. 

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Lastly, our Salmon & Egg (S$23) was also worth raving about. Pan-seared sous vide salmon, sauteed pea and asparagus, deep-fried cauliflower fritters, sous-vide egg on saffron cauliflower puree. I think sous vide is one of the techniques that's very popular nowadays but if you ask me, there are just some types of dishes and meats that I feel makes sense to be sous vide-d. Salmon and beef are okay but personally, I'm not too comfy about sous vide chicken as I do not like seeing blood on my chicken meat. The outcome of Botanist's sous vide salmon is amazing. The meat was so tender and juicy. We could actually taste all the flavors intact and the deep-fried cauliflower fritters made a good accompaniment too. 

Over-all, we had a great time at Botanist. For a two-week old cafe, service was very attentive and there wasn't any major glitch experienced all throughout. I hope they'd keep this up as we all look forward to going back there on a more regular basis from now on.

*photos by Paul Ang

Check out Botanist at 74 Neil Road, Singapore 088839. They're open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 8am-6pm. 

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