Botanica+Co, Bangsar South
Dining in the park is something Malaysians don't do often because of the humid weather. It is not exactly glamorous to dress up in a pretty summer dress, lay out a picnic mat and just melt in the scorching tropical heat that we have in this part of the world. Thankfully, the founders of Botanica+Co (also the same owners of Botanica Deli just next to it) understand our pain and decided to create a comfortable indoor park-like atmosphere for diners to allow them to feel like they are having a picnic.
The huge glass panels allow for natural light to enter the premises - giving it a very bright and airy feel. The wood panels and plenty of trees inside and around the restaurant make you feel like you're really in a park or a garden of sorts.
Outdoor seating is also possible (for those who want some...fresh air). The classy, modernistic feel of the place makes Botanica+Co a great place to do a brunch or dinner with friends for a special occasion. I personally believe this would be the perfect place to book for an event because of the chilled vibes it gives out.
Of course, having the perfectly designed venue isn't enough to draw in crowd. It is a good thing Botanica+Co is also equipped with a kitchen that produces stunning dishes. However, let me warn you first that the portions here can be a little big for some small Asian eaters (read: me).
The first main that we were served was a classic fish and chips (RM36). Fresh halibut is coated in their batter and then fried to perfection. I definitely would recommend trying this. Halibut is a great choice for fish as it is far superior to cod or dory. I loved the texture of the fish and the batter was just magnificent. Hands down, everyone agreed that this was one of the best renditions of the British casual meal that they had tried outside of the UK.
Prices may seem on the high side here but be assured that you will be getting your money's worth. The portions are sizeable (and can be shared, actually).
The next dish we tried was their spaghettini carbonara (RM32). The pasta is cooked al dente and served with beef bacon, wild mushrooms, an almost raw-egg and a copious amount of parmesan cheese. Mix in the egg yolk into the dish and it's ready to go. The cheese made the dish a little too salty for our liking. We assumed the beef was already well-salted, adding to the overall saltiness of the dish.
We were also treated to Chef Sam's Crab & Crayfish Laksa (RM36). This was a jewel of a dish. The menu boasts that it is the chef's secret recipe and whatever that secret ingredient was... it had us wanting more. I love a good bowl of laksa, especially when I am in the mood to indulge in something sinful. So, to be served laksa with their house-made laksa broth, topped with crayfish, tiger prawns, julienned fish cakes and quail's eggs, I was in heaven. Again, it may seem like the price of the dish is a little steep but do not forget the quality and quantity of ingredients included in this beautiful dish.
Botanica+Co has a brick oven installed in their restaurant in an open concept so you can watch expert chefs make your pizza on the spot. It takes a while for pizzas to come out when you order them but it is only because they are made on demand.
We were served the Chicken Tikka pizza (RM31) which was made of a base of mango chutney, topped with caramelised onions, cucumber, chicken tikka, cilantro and raita. We found this pizza to be a little too sweet for liking. The mango chutney gives the whole pizza a very cloying flavour. But I suppose if you're really into sweet and savoury pizzas in one, then this is for you. Other flavours that looked interesting to us were the Greek Lamb (RM35) and The Gentlemen (a very meat-heavy pizza for RM39).
We ended our sumptuous meal with some desserts, of course. We got to try the banana butterscotch cake (RM17). The desserts here are stellar. The cakes are incredibly fresh and moist. There is really no other way I would end the meal than to have one of their desserts. But if you think banana butterscotch is bad... You have to try their other dessert.
This majestic creation, standing in its glorious, towering beauty is the churros donut stack (RM19). The churros are shaped into a donut, topped with the creamiest vanilla ice cream, then drizzled with chocolate and caramel. The churros donut stack may look a little solid and hard to cut into at first, but once you sink your fork into it, you will understand what they say by looks can be deceiving. This baby is crispy on the outside and so soft and squishy on the inside. The caramel, chocolate, vanilla ice cream and churros sing together in perfect harmony in your mouth, so be sure to scoop a generous (but balanced) amount of everything in at once to get the full effect. All I can say about this dessert to summarise is: #noragrets.
Cocktails are also served here at Botanica+Co. What must be a popular drink among the office crowd is the Hugo. For RM70, you get an entire carafe of this elderflower and Chardonnay blend. It is a pleasant summer drink that originates from the north of Italy. The herbs that are mixed into the drinks here are very fresh and add on to the refreshing tastes of the cocktails.
We also got to try a pandan and lime soda (RM16), which was equally refreshing and good for those who don't fancy alcohol.
Overall, we were quite impressed by Botanica+Co. We will definitely be back for the fish and chips as well as the unforgettable churros.
Botanica+Co Ground Floor, The Verticals, Bangsar South, Jalan Kerinchi, Kuala Lumpur. Mon-Thurs 11am-10pm Fri-Sat 11am-1am.