(Botanist had since ceased operations.)
From the folks of Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters and Knockhouse Supply Co., Botanist joins the league of new cafes that is situated along Neil Road such as Apiary and Epiphyte just slightly down the road from The Lokal and The Populus Food and Coffee Co.
The entrance of Botanist is on the right side of the shophouse, and there are choices to dine al-fresco at their courtyard shaded by a canopy while there is also limited indoor seating that is situated beside the coffee bar. The food menu offers a good spread of brunch plates, pasta and mains, while they also do have a seperate menu for the specials of the day. Coffee is brewed from blends by Knockhouse Supply Co. which operates within the same building.
Going for an item on the specials, we opted for the Pan Roasted Duck Breast with Szechuan pepper, sautéed fine beans and caramalised figs which was listed as the Meat Of The Day. Overall the dish worked pretty well, though if there was anything to pick on it would be the duck breast which seemed to be just a little bit overdone — it is not too bothersome but we would have enjoyed it better if the duck breast was more moist overall. Apart from that, the Szechuan peppers lent a subtle but rather interesting fragrance which was a little savoury and zingy; the same feeling as a Spicy Mala Hotpot without the insane level of spiciness and numbness, while the fine beans gave it some crunch and the roasted potatoes gave it a chunky yet Rosti-like feel.
My dining partner chose the Breakfast Platter which was similar to that previously served at now-defunct OZ Specialty Coffee and Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters — comes with grilled corn, grilled tomato, sautéed mushrooms, sausages, bacon, greens, toast, hash brown, avocado and eggs (poached, scrambled or fried) with a small jar of jam at the side. It’s overall similar to the one served at Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters in terms of components and flavour — fresh ingredients and components that are well-executed for a safe yet comforting brunch dish; the only difference here would be the bacon which comes as a thicker slab. Sinful but delicious, I personally prefer the bacon served this way for its savoury without being overly salty and comes with a bite — works great for meat lovers.
As mentioned earlier, coffee is brewed from beans roasted by Knockhouse Supply Co. which is within the same building as Botanist. While the house blend is the Dark Matter blend, we requested our 5 Oz White to come with the single origin instead (we just had a Long Black with the Dark Matter blend a day before at Alchemist). The resulting cuppa is a smooth and creamy cup of coffee which carries a light body and a nutty flavour profile which is pretty soothing to have along with a leisurely brunch.
The people behind Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters seemed to have done it again — it follows the formula that has been done and proven; pretty and unique decor, satisfying food with other options apart from brunch fare and good, solid coffee which is also their expertise. While the Neil Road stretch has been seeing quite a number of new openings of the late, Botanist seemed to have a unique character of its own, which makes it yet another good spot to check out for a leisurely weekend brunch to let the hair loose and wind down before a new week starts again.
74 Neil Road