What was previously Salt Tapas & Bar at Raffles City Shopping Centre is now The Botanic, bringing a refreshing nature- and outdoors-inspired concept in terms of space and menu.
Salt Tapas & Bar is no more. One of the two concepts by Australian celebrity chef Luke Mangan – the other being Salt Grill & Sky Bar in Ion Orchard – its sudden departure confirmed rumours that Mangan had indeed pulled out of Singapore’s F&B scene. Just as well – Salt Tapas & Bar had been around since 2013, and in our opinion the concept was getting tired anyway.
In its place is The Botanic by PJ Partners Group, the same team that worked with Mangan before exited the partnership. The core team remains too; general manager Karl Higgins and Shannon Binnie – both proteges of Mangan – continue in their capacities in the revamped concept.
The Botanic taps into the modern ethos of sustainable and socially conscious dining, showcasing a progressive menu with options for vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diners. You’re also looking at the use of sustainably farmed ingredients such as seafood, free-range meats, and organic vegetables, and the like.
If that all sounds too hippie to you, it really isn’t. Flavour is up front and centre at The Botanic. For example, our vegan Kale Salad, Seeds & Grains ($16++, above) sounds like something you feed your pet rabbit, but is far tastier than it sounds with a lovely shallot, caper and pomegranate based dressing providing plenty of flavour along with the crunch. We also gladly wolfed down the very vegetarian Free Range Scotch Egg ($15++), the egg enveloped by falafel before being deep fried and served Middle Eastern style with tabbouleh and yogurt. A tasty clash of cultures, this one.
Even the meat-loving diners among us happily dug into the lacto-vegetarian Gnocchi ($25++), the little pan-fried dumplings served with asparagus, peas, parmesan and ricotta.
Despite the name, it’s not all greens here at The Botanic. We rather enjoyed the Grilled Squid ($22+) which came properly charred yet tender and moist. The Bluefin Tuna Ceviche ($18++) is a keto-friendly version of the Californian maki roll – sans rice – and the seaweed oil drizzled over the fish and avocado combo is absolutely lovely.
And if you really need your meat, the Smoked Sambal Wagyu Brisket ($39++) has all the smoky goodness and tender juiciness a carnivore would love.
In line with The Botanic’s philosophy, many of the wines served here are of an organic nature. The Chateau de la Roulerie Le P’tit Chenin, Chenin Blanc 2017 ($21++ per glass, or $99++ per bottle) from France’s Loire Valley is certified organic, for example, while the Auntsfield Pinot Noir 2017 ($24++ per glass, or $115++ per bottle, above) from the Marlborough, New Zealand producer is vinified from grapes that are sustainably farmed.
If wine is not your thing, its signature cocktail The Botanic ($18++) is a gin-based sour made with lemongrass-infused gin, with a botanical – hur hur – from basil.
Set in a bright, cheery setting The Botanic provides a great respite when shopping in the area, but if you’re one of the socially conscious diners it’s really also your kind of destination dining.
Address 252 North Bridge Road, Raffles City Shopping Centre, #01-22A, Singapore 179103 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 12nn to 11pm daily
Tel (65) 6837 0995