Words: Aisling Cullen Photos: Monica Tindall
I like to think of myself as the healthy type. I enjoy green smoothies for breakfast and preparing my own dinners from scratch, but when it comes to lunchtime I get a bit lazy. If there are leftovers from last nights dinner, perfect. Otherwise I might stray to a food court and my healthy choices go out the window as the smell of nasi lemak or fried noodles tempts me.
When Monica asked me to try out the menu at Bontanica Deli, I was happy to oblige. I do love a good salad for lunch but they are so troublesome to make, and salad bars are few and far between in KL’s food courts. By the time you buy up all the ingredients, clean and chop them, mix up a salad dressing, well frankly it’s expensive and more trouble than it’s worth.
Botanica is split into two concepts – there is a table service restaurant called Botanica & Co and there is Botanica Deli. For this visit, we tried out the deli which has a ‘grab and go’ option or you can sit in and eat. It is nestled in the new business district of Bangsar South and is a respite from the busy office towers outside. The design of the space is bright and airy, like a large glass conservatory. The colour palatte of white tiles, warm oak wood and greenery gives a light but cosy appeal.
Sandwiches are priced between RM19 – RM24 and they are stacked high, enough to fill any hungry office goer. We tried the Roast Chicken Sandwich (RM19.55) which was filled with a generous amount of chicken, chipotle mayo, tomato and lettuce. The bread is sourdough which is baked in-house and is a lovely firm but chewy bread.
There are over a handful of different set choices of sandwiches, with fillings changing every week or two.
To me, the salads are what I’m after at Botanica Deli. Priced at RM19.50 for a regular bowl or RM24 for a large bowl, you can pick your own ingredients which are unlimited. As long as they fit in the bowl, you can pile ‘em as high as you like!
The salad bar is split into four sections – choose your lettuce, then choose whatever carbs you like, add a protein (chicken, egg etc) and top with a booster like sunflower seeds or Parmesan cheese.
We tried the crafted Spicy Tuna salad (RM19.50) which was quite different to what I was expecting. Large chunks of tuna were sweet and marinated, the dressing was Asian inspired and the additional toppings complimented the salad perfectly.
You can also add a soup to your salad or sandwich for an extra RM5. Soups are all made in-house and the day we visited, Botanica Deli served a pumpkin soup, a French onion soup and a Chinese cucumber soup with chicken. If you want to order these soups separately, its RM9 for a small one and RM12 for a large one. They change every couple of days.
So after enjoying such a healthy selection of foods, we felt so virtuous that we had to taste the desserts! It’s all about balance, right??
The Banana Bread (RM6.80) was divine. It’s a huge slice of moist cakey bread with a crumble on the top. Very comforting.
We also tried the Carrot Cake (RM14.80) which is enough for two or maybe even three to share. The cream cheese filling wasn’t too sweet and all of the ingredients tasted of good quality – there was no after taste of a cheap butter or margarine that you might sometimes come across in other cafes.
We also tried some coffees to go with the cakes. The latte (RM9) was smooth and creamy, made from locally roasted beans, and the hot chocolate (RM9) was sweeter than I would normally like but still a good quality, dense chocolate. There are also a selection of freshly squeezed juices for RM11.
After digging in to two delicious desserts and a hot chocolate, I wasn’t feeling so wholesome but I enjoyed the salads so much that I ordered two to take away for lunch the next day. I’ll definitely start my healthy eating plan from tomorrow…(don’t judge me!).
Reasons to visit: make your own salad or choose one of chef’s carefully crafted creations; value for money soups and sandwiches; good coffee; must try the banana bread.
G3A/G5, Vertical Podium
Bangsar South City
59200 Kuala Lumpur
+6 016 965 6422 (reachable by WhatsApp)