Monday, December 21, 2020

Western Style Wedding Lunch in Botanico at The Garage [within Singapore Botanic Gardens]

At my age, I have attended quite a number of Chinese weddings which typically feature round tables that can sit ten persons at a hotel ballroom / restaurant and a spread of about eight / ten dishes that have auspicious significance. 

However, it's COVID-19 times and things have changed given the need for stringent safe management to curb the pandemic. A friend's wedding was recently held at  Botanico, a restaurant housed in a heritage house at Botanic Gardens and I wondered how things have changed.

Problem; it didn't seem like there's a wedding and the only eatery that caught my attention was Bee's Knees. With so many dogs seated with their owners who didn't appear to be dressed for a wedding, I had to ask for directions from the service staff. 

Turned out we had to take the unsheltered staircase to level two; thankfully, weather was pretty good and there's none of the heavy rain we encountered last week! 

Comprising of both indoors and outdoors, I must say I was impressed with the ambience and atmosphere at Botanico; it felt relaxing and it did help that the so-called outdoors were sheltered with air coolers to make us comfortable. 

My assigned table with my name indicating where I should see; safe distancing measures in place with only four to five chairs! And as you can see, it's literal fine dining layout, in the Western style. 

I can only thank my goldfish memory for remembering which cutleries to use first; start from outside! And I didn't even attend any etiquette class; read it from a book in fact.

So rude right?!?! Why a pig on my placard!? Turned out it was related to the main I would be having that day; the friend had checked with me about two weeks ago and the selection for main was either fish, pork or vegetarian. 

Not fake flowers okay.

Souvenirs for the guests; this kind of mementos for guests came about maybe around 20 years ago and I am always curious as to what I would receive; in the past, I had collected vodka cups, piggy bank, wine opener, rock candies, keychains etc. 

Aside from the mini-pail with a bag of mints (i think), the other (paper pox) consisted of two packs of tea; rose and lavender! It's always hard to determine whether one has uses for the souvenirs or not but I, for one, definitely would make good use for them! 

The table next door that was more than one-meter away; there were five chairs and I thought it was quite cramped! Anyway, people were late, as always for Chinese weddings, but unfortunately for them, the lunch started pretty much on time; i.e. 12.05pm.

Our menu for the day! Contrary to typical Chinese weddings, this had only 4-course; appetizer, soup, main and dessert. I was thinking I would likely have extra space for something else after this lunch but I was literally stuffed two hours later! 

By the way, we got free flow drinks and it's not your typical coke, sprite etc. The selection included lime juice, orange juice, coffee and tea! You can also go for coke, red wine, white wine etc. 

Warm bread with butter shall line our stomach before we went all in for the full meal. I usually like my bread with a crispy crust but this won me over with its soft, fluffy insides. Okay, I do admit I was famished! 

Smoked chicken, romaine, mandarin orange, walnuts, avocado and herb vinaigrette; well, it looked like a salad to me. No complaint but I thought the smoked chicken was turkey as texture wasn't as tender.

Wild mushroom soup with gruyere cheese toast; this is a classic example of how mushroom soup should be! Just the right balance of flavour with bites of mushroom in every spoonful and I absolutely loved the toast; it was almost as hard as a biscuit but goes so well with the soup.

My main; pork belly, cannellini beans, squid, chorizo (sausage) and petit pois (means very small green peas). Frankly, the portion was a bit small for me.... I was expecting maybe a full-sized chorizo.... 

See, the pork belly was even smaller than my knuckle! 

Turned out I worried too much; There were so much fats within the pork belly; I actually got quite sick halfway through but forced myself to eat it as it would be such a waste! Taste was okay although I think roast pork from a reputable roast delight stall would amaze me more.   

Pan-seared seabass, rissoni and grilled artichoke; I stole a few bites from Alex who opted for fish. The rissoni was interesting as it tasted somewhat like risottos but a drier version. Fish was alright and the key 'highlight' was the grilled artichoke; it's my first time having it and I confirm I do detest it! Is the sour taste a norm?! 

Vanilla pannacotta tart, strawberry compote. Served chill, this was the perfect conclusion to the meal. Tart was crunchy and fragrant, the vanilla pannacotta wasn't overly sweet on its own but the sourish compote had a miraculous effect in amplifying the sweetness! 


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

As above.


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