5 must-eats at Botany, according to towkay Julie Tan

Homely, comfort food inspired by the actress and her gal pals 

Photos: Toggle and Botany
Photos: Toggle and Botany
16 Mar 2019

Photos: Toggle and Botany


As though Julie Tan didn’t have enough on her plate, the actress recently took on the challenge of opening a restaurant at Robertson Quay. A collaboration with her childhood friend Serene Tan and cousin Cassandra Tan, Botany had its soft launch on March 8 and has been enjoying a steady stream of diners ever since.  

The comfort food spot, decked out in lush greenery and white marble walls, features mainly Western and Asian fare, both wholesome (there are vegetarian and gluten-free options too) and sinful, with some recipes contributed by the girl bosses themselves: think mapo tofu, chicken congee and burgers, as well as favourites from Taiwanese café chain Dazzling Café, of which Serene is the franchise owner.

“When we designed this menu, we wanted it to be very inclusive by catering to everyone [whether you are vegetarian or a meat lover]. It is very hard to find a place that is in-between,” said Cassandra. “We will get angry if we eat too healthy!”

Read on for Julie’s top 5 picks to try at Botany.

Otah Chips ($13)
Otah Chips ($13)
16 Mar 2019

Otah Chips ($13)

How is otah chips not a thing yet? Made from Muar otah which is steamed then deep fried, these fingers are enticingly moreish and taste like spam fries, but healthier. Unfortunately the chunks of fish meat were a little dry.

Uni Truffle Capellini ($28)
Uni Truffle Capellini ($28)
16 Mar 2019

Uni Truffle Capellini ($28)

Served chilled, each strand of slippery pasta is evenly coated in a truffle salsa, boasting an earthy taste. A tad salty, but the creamy sea urchin and burst-in-your-mouth ikura balanced out the taste. The best part, it comes at a fraction of the price of that at fine-dining restaurants.

Signature Grilled Chicken with Balinese Salsa ($18)
Signature Grilled Chicken with Balinese Salsa ($18)
16 Mar 2019

Signature Grilled Chicken with Balinese Salsa ($18)

Also divine is the juicy and tender grilled chicken that is marinated with spices and – surprise, surprise – air-fried. But the star is the home-made salsa, which is inspired by Balinese sambal matah, a spicy condiment made with fresh ingredients like tomatoes, chilli padi, onions and lemongrass. You’ll get a tangy first mouthful followed by a fiery aftertaste that spice-lovers will love. Hands down our favourite dish of the night – and Julie’s too.

Mapo Tofu Rice Bowl ($18)
Mapo Tofu Rice Bowl ($18)
16 Mar 2019

Mapo Tofu Rice Bowl ($18)

The Mapo Tofu Rice Bowl, a glorious mess of Szechuan-style tofu and minced chicken, served atop a mountain of Japanese rice with a sous vide egg, was comforting, appetising and not numbingly spicy. We got to try the vegetarian version served with Impossible ‘meat’, a plant-based substitute, and honestly, we couldn’t tell the difference. They could have been more generous with the mapo tofu, though. We found ourselves sauce-less by the time we got to the bottom of the bowl.

Australian Grass-fed Ribeye ($28)
Australian Grass-fed Ribeye ($28)
16 Mar 2019

Australian Grass-fed Ribeye ($28)

Pan-seared in red wine and served with a side butter mash, the grass-fed ribeye is deliciously tender and a joy to indulge in. The buttery, creamy mashed potatoes were shockingly good too.

The homemade Hummus with Baked Nachos is one of the bestsellers at Botany.
The homemade Hummus with Baked Nachos is one of the bestsellers at Botany.
16 Mar 2019

The homemade Hummus with Baked Nachos is one of the bestsellers at Botany.

Julie tells us the Pan-Seared Barramundi is a favourite of actor Zheng Geping.
Julie tells us the Pan-Seared Barramundi is a favourite of actor Zheng Geping.
16 Mar 2019

Julie tells us the Pan-Seared Barramundi is a favourite of actor Zheng Geping.

For those looking for something more wholesome, there are organic muesli bowls and avocado toast.
For those looking for something more wholesome, there are organic muesli bowls and avocado toast.
16 Mar 2019

For those looking for something more wholesome, there are organic muesli bowls and avocado toast.

A vegetarian option of the popular Beef Burger, which uses plant-based meat, is also available.
A vegetarian option of the popular Beef Burger, which uses plant-based meat, is also available.
16 Mar 2019

A vegetarian option of the popular Beef Burger, which uses plant-based meat, is also available.

The lush greenery and white marble surfaces give Botany a cosy and relaxed feel.
The lush greenery and white marble surfaces give Botany a cosy and relaxed feel.
16 Mar 2019

The lush greenery and white marble surfaces give Botany a cosy and relaxed feel.

Botany is located at 86 Robertson Quay, #01-03, Singapore 238245

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