Words: Sandrina Duniau Photos: Monica Tindall
Monica and Caning were already at the table when I arrived at Botanica + Co. Though the two of them had been before, it was my first time. I had heard however of the restaurant previously for its atmosphere and it was a place I’d been wanting to check out.
I was delighted to find a small paradise in the middle of KL. The restaurant has a glass façade all around which creates an unbroken connection between the interior and exterior spaces while providing a sanctuary from the outside world. The restaurant’s concept is all about feeling part of nature, from plants to trees decorating the venue, to lanterns hanging and diffusing a soothing light, to plenty of green in the menu too. The menu uses fresh ingredients; produce is generally selected at local markets, and bread, dressings and sauces are all made in-house.
After slogging it through KL’s notorious afternoon traffic, I was relieved to refresh myself with some Bocoritas – Botanica’s version of margaritas (Bo+Co+rita), which come in a choice of four flavours: strawberry, peach, yuzu or passion fruit, taken either regular or frappé. On a whim we ordered all four – regular versions of the strawberry and passion fruit, and the yuzu and passion fruit frappe style. I personally enjoy the frozen version of cocktails as I appreciate the added dimension; they are exciting, pleasant and make me smile. I was particularly a fan of the yuzu, the Japanese tangy citrus, which I have only come across recently, and just might be forming an addiction. Currently Bocoritas are part of Botanica’s Ultimate Cocktail Hour, priced at RM19 instead of RM35 from 3.30pm to 7.30pm, so if you are around, don’t miss this deal!
Our first course was fresh and light, the Bo +Co House Salad (RM 24). It includes an extensive range of veggies such as mesclun salad, Japanese cucumber, edamame, cherry tomatoes, broccoli and pomegranate, topped with some Parmesan tuiles and accompanied by a house dressing. If you need a scrumptious hit of vitamins, I’d definitely recommend it!
We carried on with the Gruyere Cheese Soufflé (RM24 – only served at dinner time), which happens to be one of my favourite dishes. Monica jokingly pointed out my eating the whole dish and well, to be completely truthful, I think I left them both less than a third of it to eat. Who can blame me? It’s cheese! Here the soufflé comes with a petite salad, walnuts, raisins and truffle dressing. It was light and airy and best of all, it comes with even more cheese in the form of a cheese sauce (What better way to please a Frenchie?).
The Spicy Chorizo & Chickpea Soup (RM19) was served next; a broth of smoked tomatoes, spicy beef chorizo and chickpeas, the perfect comforting combination. This turned out to be one of Mon’s favourites.
The menu features six different sharing platters and we sampled the Crispy Fish Tacos (RM29); a freshly fried halibut fish with crisp batter in hard tacos, served with coleslaw, tomato salsa and house-made tartar sauce. And, this one just so happened to be Caning’s top pick.
Some meaty mains followed, with the Slow-braised Oyster Blade (RM58, only served at dinner) of grain-fed Angus beef, slow cooked for 12 hours in veal juice. A generous portion of veggies and garlic-infused potato mash sided it, which I cheekily kept to myself as Caning was knifing into the meat.
Up next was the Lamb Kofta Curry (RM38) with spiced lamb meatballs simmered in a rich and aromatic tomato-based curry, served with basmati rice pilaf, kachumba (cucumber, tomato and onion side salad) and crispy (and quite spicy) papadum. There was a good balance of sauce, not too much to overpower the rest of the dish, but just enough to provide a rich layer of moisture.
Next, I found my favourite main (well, apart from the cheese that is because of course cheese could be a main!) in the newly improved Spicy Crayfish (RM39) featuring chargrilled crayfish lightly sautéed with al dente spaghettini and sambal chili. For those like me who could be put off by the words sambal and chili, I would invite you to give it a try as the chili gives a gentle kick bringing out the taste of the crayfish.
Thirsty from the generous portions we indulged in, we were delighted to try out their Spicy Tea Party (RM75) cocktail, a mango infused, chili and fresh basil mix with Tequila and white wine in a jug. What better way to cool off after a hard day’s work than a fruity cocktail? Here the mango and basil works famously in tandem, however I didn’t taste the chili but maybe you will? Do check out their drinks menu as they have quite an impressive selection of creative cocktails and home-made sodas. The carafe cocktails can be shared with up to four people.
While Caning was finishing the Spicy Tea Party and eating the last infused mango slice from the jug, Monica ended the evening with a Cappuccino (RM15) and I had the Earl Grey Lavender tea (RM13), a very pleasant taste to go with the Banana Crumble dessert (RM21), which has to be the best crumble I’ve had! What’s not to like about caramelized bananas with crunchy crumble served with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and seasonal fruits?
While the highlight of the meal is undoubtedly the atmosphere, Botanica is the perfect place to catch up with friends and revitalise yourself outside of urban KL.
Reasons to visit: escape the concrete jungle while sipping a Bocorita; my personal top food picks were the cheese soufflé and spicy chorizo & chickpea soup, and for sweets, don’t miss the banana crumble.
Botanica + Co
G5 Podium, The Verticals
Jalan Kerinchi, Bangsar South City
59200 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+6 016 965 6422
Pork free, serves alcohol Reservation possible for dinner only from 6.30pm onwards. You may reserve online via their website or Facebook. Food delivery via food panda is possible after 2pm.